Santa isn’t visiting his crappy apartment

share son for Christmas

Does she have to share her son with her cheating husband for Christmas? They’re not even divorced yet, but he’s moved out to a crappy apartment to be closer to his affair partner.

***

Dear Chump Lady,

My husband was always a terrible liar. It was a running joke in our marriage. It was funny because it was true. So, it didn’t take me long at all to unravel the truth. He was cheating for 3 months when I found out. And, luckily, I found you and the entire Chump Nation in September. I googled something about kids and divorce and up popped your post about “Kids eating the biggest shit sandwich“. That hooked me on the site from that day forward.

We are coming up on the holidays. I am especially concerned about Christmas.

Stupid asswipe has chosen his ugly downgrade of a OW over me — and our seven-year-old son. My son believes in Santa and Santa comes to OUR house, not the one-bedroom POS apartment he moved to which is 4 miles from HER house. He told me not long after I kicked him out that he only had 2 days off from work: Thanksgiving and Christmas. He didn’t actually ask to see our son, but that’s what he intimated, I think.

Do I have an obligation to let him see our son on Christmas Day? The custody has yet to be determined, although I have asked for legal and physical custody and he has been served. I was thinking that he can see his son the weekend after Christmas. I am just afraid it will be a shitty thing for my son to go through. It’ll be our first in this new reality. Any recommendations to help me? I have a backbone, but it’s getting soft when I think about the holidays and my son.

Connie

***

Dear Connie,

What would Santa do?

As everyone is aware, Santa has a Naughty and Nice list. The North Pole takes a dim opinion of men who walk out on young children. In fact, Christmas is on a tiered adjudication system. For “naughty” infractions, Santa delivers coal in your stocking. But for really heinous crimes, like child abandonment, Santa throws the offender in a sack and delivers him to his labor camps above the Arctic Circle. There he will be forced to make “Rock n Roll” Elmo dolls for eternity.

Most crappy apartments don’t have chimneys, so your ex might be spared this fate. But I certainly wouldn’t risk it and let your son spend Christmas with him. (“Where’s Daddy?!” Santa shanghaied him. Could be scarring.)

Santa justice aside, you don’t have a signed court order that specifies holiday arrangements. As you seem to have physical custody of your son, I’d say the ball is in your court about whether you share your son for Christmas. (But remember, I’m not a lawyer, and this isn’t legal advice. I’m a chump with a blog.) If Saturday or Sunday suits you, make it then. If he is vexed by this, let him go get a court injunction and explain his extra-marital co-habitation to the judge. Somehow for a guy who only has two days off during the holidays, I doubt he’ll make this a priority.

If your ex complains, just turn that Christmas tune “Dominick the Donkey” up really loud into the phone. He should wilt and shy away.

Enjoy your FW-free holiday!

***

This is an updated post. Why is Dominick the Donkey still a thing?

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Connie
Connie
9 years ago

You Rock!!! Thank you!! What I also foresee happening is that he will ask to come to the house on Christmas Day to watch our son open presents. As much as I would want “normal” for my son, that is no longer normal and I will have to say NO. He is one of those that just left. NO crocodile tears and no mindfuckery that is so prevelent here. NO, going NC was easy because he wouldn’t talk to me. He is very much trying to protect his image…..still shows “married” on Facebook. Hasn’t deleted any photos of me or anything. Hasn’t told any of his friends and actually avoids some of them. He used to spend every night while I was working the night shift (after homeschooling all day) on the phone with her….actual conversations that my son could overhear and texts. But now, he doesn’t call after dinner time on the days he does call to talk to our son. He goes to her house and he can’t have the two mingle now. Ironic really. Hypocritical to the Nth degree. I think he wants to be “Friends” but that ain’t happening. I want to out him so bad on Facebook but I am thinking of something a bit more classy and subtle- nicely done Christmas photo cards of just me and my son and sending it to everyone I know!!

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

that is what i told mine on 4th of July. that it was a family day, he didnt choice this family. go spend time with your new family. you wanted those people not us. it didnt go over to well because of course his loving, respecting, protecting MOW told him what to say and then when he wasnt saying it right she took over (because after spending 14 years with someone i wasnt sappose to notice that his texting style mysteriously changed right in the middle of a conversation AND all of a sudden he learned how to spell words he has been misspelling for 14 years.)

that was also when i got the “he divorced you, he did not divorce his kids” line. WTF last i checked when he left the house, moved in with her. that was including leaving the kids too. last i checked not coming home every night and spending any kind of time with the children, not paying child support and not visiting is called abandonment. *shrugs* but of course he didnt divorce the children.

after the bullshit he pulled on the boys birthdays (having someone else deliver the balloons and cards at school so he doesnt have to hear my voice, talk to me or face me)…………i am not sure what to expect for christmas. but reading this today is super helpful!!!! i am prepared to say no, and go spend it with the family you choice over this family. after all THEY treat him so much better and with such respect that we never did.

Jode70
Jode70
9 years ago
Reply to  MrsVain

Mrs Vain isn’t it amazing how they change the narrative. Of course I didn’t leave the kids. Just couldn’t be bothered being a part of their life, can only see them when I have nothing better to do. Once every 6 months seems to be adequate for being a parent… send them a text or facebook message every couple of months makes me a wonderful parent. NOT!!

I too got texts from the other woman telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Telling me that I need to let go that she is his now blah blah fucketty blah. sweetheart you are most welcome to him. I started to see red though when the OW starting sending my kids messages about how they should be treating their dad, how they should prioritize him in their lives and how she is disgusted with them for not doing so… um.. he just up and left them not the other way around.

Connie, I would just say no. He is not part of your family. I did the split Christmas day a couple of years ago. My kids had the morning at my place, got picked up just after lunch, lasted about an hour at his place and wanted to come home. Were home by 2.30. Haven’t spent a Christmas with him since. They chose not to.

KibbleFree_MightyMe
KibbleFree_MightyMe
9 years ago
Reply to  Jode70

Jode70 – oh NO she is NOT contacting your children. You need to block that whore from having access to your children’s devices. If she continues, threaten her with charges of emotional abuse of your children. It’s bad enough they know she is the whore who knowingly contributed at least 50% of the shit that destroyed their immediate family, but now they have to put up with this bitch’s bullshit about what a WHORE thinks is “disgusting?!” LOOK IN THE MIRROR, WHORE!! There’s your pile of disgusting! Fuckers!! The fact that is asswipe DNA donor “dad” won’t even protect or defend his own blood from this bitch is enraging. Block that whore. Seriously. What this whore is doing is psychologically abusive to your kids.

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  Jode70

yep….i got the “HE IS MINE NOW” and the “YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO ACCEPT THAT WE ARE A COUPLE”

what is with these women who stalk and fuck another womans husband and then get all territorial? stupid asses. she “protects” him now from whatever i tell him. if i try to talk to him, she tells him what to answer. i never knew he was such a little baby that needed his gf/woman to tell him what to say, think and do.

i know the shit is going to hit the fan one day. i am not sure when but it will and of course it will all be MY FAULT. like everything else was.

although it hurts and kills me and has caused me so much pain……i do believe it is probably better for me and the kids. we dont see him. we dont have to talk to him. he is the kind of person who will let his girlfriend call and yell at me, and tell me all sorts of shit. he seems to get off on having someone “fight” for him and enjoys my pain.

she is so much more fun and understanding to him. all she wants is a man who has zero responsibilities like her and who likes to party, drink and do drugs. Compared to me who was trying to get him to straighten up his act, and recognize he is fucking up.

oh well his loss.

ExpatChump
ExpatChump
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

My STBX also still has married on his Facebook. In fact when I removed married from my status, he sent me a request saying to confirm married status. He also pitched a fit when I removed “wife” from my other social media. What is up with that?

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

Oh, Connie–keep that backbone firm. He isn’t done yet. Believe me, avoiding the mindfuckery the rest of us suffer through would be worth a great deal of money but I’m worried your soon-to-be-X may just be having a delayed reaction. As soon as your and his family learns of his “single” status (the Christmas card with just you & son is brilliant), the full consequences of his actions and his inability to further do “damage control” of his image will lead him to behave in the usual idiot ways that cheaters do. Surround yourself with support, get your son (and you) to a therapist asap–I suspect you’re going to need it.

Connie
Connie
9 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Oh wow. Your comment made my heart pound out of my chest.That terrifies me. I pray there is no delayed reaction but I totally see that it’s a possibility. Our families know….because I told them. He refused. He still isn’t talking to his family hardly at all. His world has become his job and the new friends he is creating there and HER.

I told our son when the time was right so damage control with him is over. I will not keep his filthy secret. I will be the sane, consistent, honest parent in my son’s life. Damn him! Thanks to Chump Nation, I found the right words when my son said out of the blue one evening, “I can’t wait until Daddy comes home”. I told him that Daddy wasn’t coming home and when he asked me why I told him, “When mommies and Daddies are married they aren’t allowed to have boyfriends/girlfriends. Your Daddy has a girlfriend so we aren’t going to be married anymore”. There were follow-up questions from my son and I asnwered as best I could. My STBXH about shit when I told him. What the hell did he expect? Oh yeah, he expected me to lie! I found out that my son had asked HIM when he was coming home and he just said, “I’m not” and offered no more information.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

Good for you telling your son the truth. Cockroaches like your husband (and all of our husbands/wives/exes) are scared of the light, which is exactly why we should cast it on them.

I hope your husband stays away, but keep some emotional reserves if he doesn’t.

Miss Sunshine
Miss Sunshine
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

WHAT A FUCKER.

These jackasses are all the same. What matters to them is their image, not the extreme emotional damage and distress they inflict on anyone else–not even their own children.

There is really something wrong with people like that. Like [pointing to my head] totally fucked up in there. They look ok, but they are BROKEN in the brain.

My ex is in that camp of walk-away spouses who did not torture me with false reconciliations and lies. Once DD went down, it was all over. He’d become committed to her, and off he went. And, like so many of these walk-aways, he very much wants to keep things on the down-low with his home-wrecking twat troll–even with his own kids. Those two parts of his life DO NOT MIX. And it is so strange. But the kids just take him for what he is. In a way, I admire him for not rubbing their noses in his new life. On the other hand, he’s a fucking coward. I’m truly devastated for my kids, and particularly the youngest, who absolutely worshiped his dad until the very moment he heard the truth, reluctantly admitted by his father. My boy was shattered–fell to the floor in a heap, as if someone had taken a baseball bat to his knees. That would have been less painful. He is highly functioning and very successful as a young man, but I fear there is a festering spot in his heart.

For years I expected a delayed reaction. People would say (naive, but well-meaning people), “Oh, you KNOW he’s going to come crawling back to you!” But I know he won’t. He’s been with the downgrade for 4 years, now, and he hasn’t the balls to look me in the eye, let alone ask me for anything. He knows the answer would be stone-cold silence.

I cannot imagine what goes through his mind in the darkness of night. It must suck to be him.

susie lee
susie lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Miss Sunshine

“he hasn’t the balls to look me in the eye, let alone ask me for anything. He knows the answer would be stone-cold silence.”

That is what I experienced, granted I didn’t exude any warmth, or welcome on the few occasions at grandchildren stuff we both attended, but I did notice he avoided my eyes. But, I don’t think it was me so much as that was his life now. He had crapped all over me, and didn’t realized that in that process he left stains all over himself, that he couldn’t wash away. Well he could have but he refused to look at himself.

TheMuse (Margaret)
TheMuse (Margaret)
9 years ago
Reply to  Miss Sunshine

My ex has done the walk away too, the very night of D-Day when I begged him to do counseling he refused; then I begged him to “stay with me anyway” and he said no because he “already ran the Sharing Idea by OW and she wouldn’t go for that,” my jaw dropped… but he never gave a backward glance, leaving behind me and 3 kids from my first marriage that he had co-parented for 16 years, and saying, “I don’t know what happened, in one minute I went from 100% committed to you to 100% committed to her.” Friends have observed he stepped up to a bigger paycheck and w/o the competition of kids as he snarled at me she was a better girlfriend because she had “no children!”. My kids actually don’t miss him and are glad he is out of our lives as he was verbally abusive to all of us during the whole 16 years. But it still hurts, a year plus two months later, that he’s now living in OW’s new expensive house, and has forgotten us all and our entire sixteen years together. I have had weeks of Meh then recently took a backward turn, I don’t really know why. I trust that he sucks, I gave up on untangling his fuckedupness a long time ago, but still sometimes can’t process why he did this though my head knows he’s a cluster B fucktard and a parasite. It just sucks. But yes, not as bad as BEING HIM sucks.

Miss Sunshine
Miss Sunshine
9 years ago

The Coward also left his family for a childless twat. I think that what he really wanted in life was not to be a strong and dependable man of integrity, but a baby. Now he has a woman who, in his fantasy, will baby him.

As for me, I will be alone until I find a strong and dependable man of integrity. Lord knows the ex was never that man.

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  Miss Sunshine

Oh Lord!! this seems to be my XH too. i thought he was a man but he really just wanted someone to do everything for him. it doesnt seem to bother him that his girlfriend belongs legally to her husband (doesnt bother her either) she is doing everything for him that i did only she is not distracted by children, cleaning house, paying bills, etc. she can give her 100% attention to him, and their partying.

how people can do that is just beyond my way of thinking. she left her children behind so she can drink, do drugs, stay up all night, sleep all day and fuck other people husbands. my XH left his kids and is doing the same only fucking other people wives. it seems like he has completely forgot about me and the boys. all i did for him for 14 years doesnt mean shit.

plus it seems like he has zero consequences. he throws away 14 years and our marriage and our family. that is how he told our kids too when they asked him when is he coming home, all he said was i am not, with a you know i love you. i was the one that had to clean up his mess again, answering the childrens hard questions, dealing with the anger, confusion, whining and crying. talking to teachers and counselors to make sure my kids are okay. struggling to pay bills, work, clean house, wash laundry, buy groceries and everything. while he gets to skate off with this wonderful, married other woman who respects him so much more then i ever did. he gets to live life with zero responsibilities, zero punishment, zero pain while me and the kids are trying to uncurl ourselves off the bathroom floor. it just doesnt seem right.

KellyOne
KellyOne
9 years ago
Reply to  Miss Sunshine

My ex was like yours Miss Sunshine, walked away without a backward glance. The description of what your youngest went through when he heard the truth brought tears to my eyes. My ex made a few pathetic attempts to see our children and when they resisted he just walked away from them as well, and seemed relieved he did not have to face even them. He has not seen our youngest son, now 15, once in the almost 3 years since D-Day. These freaks make me ill.

As you say so very well:

“I cannot imagine what goes through his mind in the darkness of night. It must suck to be him.”

Char
Char
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

He DEFINITELY WILL want to come to your house for presents. My ex actually expected me to allow him back in the house to sit in OUR living room and have Christmas with my girls WHILE I STAYED UPSTAIRS! You know – because I was such a “downer” and couldn’t just see he needed to be “happy” and wouldn’t “forgive and move on with my life.’ This was – I should mentions – 6 months after D-day and 3 months after he moved in with the OW who had abandoned her husband and two children to be with him their own version of the crappy little apartment 2 miles up from our family home.

So take advantage of the control you have currently – he can just sit and enjoy his mistress on Christmas. You deserve the chance to start building your own new family traditions with your son. Don’t be surprised if it’s still painful – Christmas brings out the most vulnerabilities in chumps because of the sentimentality of the season – but shove it aside for the sake of your little boy and have a wonderful, magical and loving (if Merry just doesn’t seem likely) Christmas together! Stay strong, Connie!

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Char

These people–they choose to lie, cheat, disrespect the people whom they are supposed to love. And then they expect to have all the good times, the special events, the holidays, as if nothing had happened. The nerve of your X to suggest you stay upstairs…

DeeDee
DeeDee
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

I like your Christmas card idea. I would let everyone in your circle know, so that people have a chance to rally around and offer support to you and your son. You guys could use it now, especially with the holidays coming up. And take the opportunity with the dickwad being out of the picture to plan fun stuff for you and your son. Do the stuff that makes YOU guys happy and fuck your ex husband. He can see your son on the weekend, sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

zyx321
zyx321
9 years ago
Reply to  DeeDee

I used the holiday card to inform folks about the split. A nice collage of photos of me and the kids, and on the back within the blurb of our activities that year, I noted that STBXH and I had “parted ways” and remained committed to be good co-parents to the kids.

I was at least; exH moved away and it now attempting to get the kids the entire summer.

I DO NOT have joint holidays. We had Thanksgiving together 4 months post split, at my house with STBXH’s family, and I was very uncomfortable. Ex kept texting the OW as she was out of state, and sister in law kept asking ex about his travel, etc.

I suggest the split the day approach, or Christmas Eve and Day separate. ExH’s family always celebrates Christmas Eve, so that made it easy. He took kids that evening and had them back for bed since youngest was a believer and wanted to wake up at “home.”

KellyOne
KellyOne
9 years ago
Reply to  zyx321

All of my friends and co-workers knew what ex had done– Walked out (after 25 years of marriage) on me and our 3 children after being caught really leading a double life, neck deep in very long term affairs. He too never looked back or cried one tear. But he also wanted to keep his image and resisted telling his own friends or co-workers. I told everyone I felt like telling, which included my friends, co-workers, neighbors, the man who cut my grass, the hairdresser, etc. You get the idea.

By our first Christmas we were already divorced (I filed as soon as he left, and we were divorced in a little over 4 months from D-day, so quickly did he want out!). That year, I got some cards from several of his friends/co-workers who he had not told, and who thought we were still together.

I sent each of them a card back, from me and our children. I added a handwritten note on a separate piece of paper telling them that: “Unfortunately, [ex] has decided to leave our family to pursue other interests, and we are now divorced. Our children and I are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.”

Oh and NO joint holiday (not that my ex even asked, my kids were so disgusted with him they did not want to see him and he never tried very hard anyhow).

Miss Sunshine
Miss Sunshine
9 years ago
Reply to  KellyOne

Unfortunately, [ex] has decided to leave our family to pursue other interests, and we are now divorced. Our children and I are doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.

Totally brilliant. This makes you look classy, and him look like the jackass who would leave a family to pursue other interests.

LOVE it.

KellyOne
KellyOne
9 years ago
Reply to  Miss Sunshine

Thanks Miss Sunshine! In person I couldn’t help spilling my guts, but in these cards I could be classy yet feel powerful that I spoke out,

Susan
Susan
9 years ago

Dear Connie,

Last year my girls were in college when we were presented with the holiday dilemma. Since I was trying to regain my sanity at my brother’s home in woodsy CT, my STBX had rented a small two bedroom apartment in our town about 45 minutes south. I thought I’d be spending Christmas Eve by myself but my girls and X convinced me to join them at his place for as much merry-making as was possible. One daughter had a meltdown on Xmas Eve and we never made it to church and since Dad was singing in the choir, my other decided she didn’t want to be sitting by herself so the three of us girls, crawled into bed together and watched old movies. Not what any of us wanted to be doing! Christmas morning was like something out of surreal movie. He woke everyone up early and the girls opened presents and within half an hour he was bolting out the door for a 14 hour ride to see his lamby-kins.

Luckily for the girls and me, we have a wonderful support system and we packed ourselves up and drove an hour to my sister’s house where we spent the rest of the day and overnight surrounded by the love of my family. This had been the plan from the start.

This year I don’t forsee celebrating(?) with him at all. I now live within a mile of him so if the kids want to see him they can pop over and leave. But Christmas Day we will be once again celebrating with cousins and aunts and uncles and the giant sleepover.

Good luck to you. Try to involve family and friends to make a new tradition for your son. It will be a difficult time but take it slow and remember to breathe.

Hugs,
Susan

Let go
Let go
9 years ago

Connie, we moved a lot when my kids were little. They asked a couple of times if Santa knew where they were. I told them he always knew where they were. Kids accept what is in front of them. Just decide where Santa is going to be and go with it. If douchbag wants to share tell him he threw that “right” in the trash along with his marriage. I don’t believe in starting WWIII but I don’t think being a doormat gets you anything but stomped on. Let the asshole find out what life is going to be like.

namedforvera
namedforvera
9 years ago

Even with my young adult daughter, the first separated thanksgiving Ex made *her* drive to his place for an extremely award and un-celebratory something or other (she said). This after a real Thanksgiving with me, my sister her kids and their SO’s, very lovely. But we cut it short for Mr. WingDing. What a mistake!
It’s a memory we’ve both tried to shuffle to the back of the pile.

All the more galling that: it was all on his terms, she had to rush around to suit him, and, turns out, the schedule was dictated by his new married-to-somebody-else Schmoopie.

Ah yes, the family celebration with a fucktard. Not. I wouldn’t bother (although to be fair I didn’t have young kids who needed explaining at the time, and it wasn’t Christmas.) By Christmas she was ready to wash her hands. I still think she went for her last awkward meal, but that was it. Over, done, punkt.

She & BF are talking about a trip to the US this summer including a x-country drive to visit friends in the Bay area, and I asked it she thought she’d visit her dad. She looked at me like she’d stepped in a dog turd with bare feet. Hells no!

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  namedforvera

As we enter the holidays, all we chumps need to remember that our cheaters sacrificed the right to have ANYTHING on their terms.

Stand firm, chump brethren! (this is as much a pep talk for me as for the rest of you–only 7 weeks out from D-day and the holiday season fills me with dread of how badly wrong things can go if I let my jerk dictate what happens).

lost
lost
9 years ago

he left his family for some twat – no way should he be allowed to come to your house to enjoy the normal christmas he threw away however I do think he should be allowed to see him on christmas or christmas eve for a few hours where he can do whatever bullshit christmas shit he can come up with which I’m sure won’t be that great this will look good to the courts when you do go to court that you “support and encourage the relationship with the non-custodial parent”.

Scott
Scott
9 years ago

CL is right (per usual), but that said the holidays are tough…really emotional and you likely will be depressed. I am not too proud of a man to admit there were some tears when i went to bed alone thanksgiving night, and was more than frustrated christmas day due to my ex cheater calling my son every hour. So expect it to suck. But do what cl says on this one and enjoy your son.

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago
Reply to  Scott

Can you get some kind of agreement where she can’t call more than once when you have your kid, unless there’s an emergency?

Miss Sunshine
Miss Sunshine
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

Hah! Let her call once, then have son put the phone away. If there’s an emergency she can call 911 or the current guy she’s with.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  Miss Sunshine

In my step-parenting days, the kids’ mother interrupted every meal, every holiday with some crisis that required her to call the kids (to report that the water heater broke, etc). We finally made a rule about “no calling times,” not with his X but with the kids. It worked fine and eventually the calling stopped.

Kira
Kira
9 years ago

I tried being nice at first for my small children’s sake and letting him come over to my house to see them Thanksgiving/Christmas Day. If there is any way around doing that, I would highly recommend doing something else. Now we do what the court said- we are supposed to either split the holiday in half, or if we cannot do that, rotate holidays. We are still trying to do the split, though if this year goes like last year, we will probably end up having to rotate holidays. I don’t know what you are supposed to do before court orders are in place, but I wouldn’t want to give him any ammunition in court either! “She kept my son away from me on Christmas!” I would advise you to make some sort of offer to him – “You take Johnny at 3, and have him back at 8 in time for bed” or whatever. THEN, if he is too busy playing house with Schmoopie, YOUR lawyer can say in court – “He had time offered on Christmas, that he failed to take advantage of.” I’ve always erred on the side of caution about his “time” with the kids, because I have a relative who is dragged to court CONSTANTLY by her crazy ex saying he wasn’t getting his “time” and I’ve heard horror stories worse than what she’s going through.

susan
susan
9 years ago

My hoildays are crazy too, as my son is much older. Still wants family together when possible, so ww husband comes into the house,…still we have dinner, we cook and eat as the family did, but at the end of the evening we sleep in separate beds. So much stress, I dont like hoilday’s.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  susan

At a minimum, send the Mo..Fu… to a hotel for the holidays. He gets a free meal with his kids, then have the door hit him on the way out.

Jayne
Jayne
9 years ago
Reply to  susan

Dear Susan,

I am so sorry to criticise … not least because I don’t have children and you would be perfectly within your rights to say ‘what the hell would you know about it Jayne, you haven’t got kids’. But I have to say the set up you have with your ex coming over and playing faux happy families for the holidays, really alarms me.

I can totally understand the drive to make the holidays as happy as possible for children, and if they’ve expressly stated they want to play ‘let’s pretend we are still a happy family and nothing has changed’ I can see the temptation to do what you can to bring that about. The trouble is, doesn’t this give horrible life lessons to your son? A sense of entitlement to have whatever he wants, regardless of its connection to reality? Isn’t he being taught that mum’s happiness (and possibly, by extension, his future girlfriends / wife) is, and should be – ‘because mum accepted having to play nice with my abusive father in order to keep me happy’ – absolutely secondary to what he wants, and mum’s feelings are totally unimportant? We only get one go on this planet, and it’s short enough, you don’t need to prove you love your son by feeding and entertaining a man who abused you by cheating, and you really don’t need to be spending the holidays feeling stressed by having this man back in your life. I’m really sorry, but I don’t think giving your son this much power, in that he can force you to eat shit sandwiches every holiday to keep him happy, will, in the long run be any good for him.

Sorry Susan 🙁 I’m sure you are coming from a place of love, but IMO it’s fubar-ed, this arrangement with your ex.

Jayne x

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  Jayne

I pretty much agree with Jayne but we don’t know how you ended up in that situation.

Caroline
Caroline
9 years ago

I am happily NOT in your sad position, but I would go with what another poster has suggested. Tell him that he is definitely and under no circumstances whatsoever going to be playing any version of happy families on any holiday ever again, but that you are very happy to have him collect your son at 3pm (which is when the little dears are nice and bored anyway), and to please have him back by 8pm latest, and to ensure he’s eaten before he gets back so that he can go to bed. The end. No one could accuse you of denying him access to his son on a major holiday, your son gets to spend some time with his dad – which is nice for him, given the age he’s at – BUT you get to dictate what happens and when, not the downgrade OW, not anyone, you. It might not always go that way in future, control it while you can…

fiestypants
fiestypants
9 years ago

Connie-keep the backbone, very glad you have it. As you don’t have to worry about official court sharing time with custody use the power you have and make your own decision. It doesn’t sound like you want him there and as you have no obligation to make sure he is there, my vote is to not impose an obligation onto yourself when there is none. If you’re worried about your backbone getting softer maybe you can make Holiday plans with other friends/family? That way you’ll still be around people who care about you, you have support around you if you need to cry (it’s the first holiday like this, you probably will have a few moments) or need someone else to chase the stbx with a broom if he tries to come onto the property. Start a new tradition with your son. Love the Christmas card idea. Keep your holiday plans to yourself as well. If you’re going to spend them somewhere else you’re also under no obligation to make those plans known to your stbx.

namedforvera
namedforvera
9 years ago

Connie– another tip, but seems to be more or less covered: I’ve started early (and often!) to line up other rels and family to share celebrations with. My folks and all that older generation are gone, so me, my sibs, their kids, and whoever else are the collaborative. It calls for a little persistence and creatively, or making peace with solo holidays– maybe a nice woods walk with my beloved dog? (Because, I have one child and she lives on another continent–not home this year.)

But facing that it’s not going to be the way it was..and then, “How can I remake the holiday so it’s good for me?” (and whoever I care about who is in my orbit) becomes the goal.

Schmuck-face’s needs are utterly irrelevant, and I wouldn’t even answer an email.

good luck.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
9 years ago
Reply to  namedforvera

You might think about doing some new things, too. Like eating the big dinner Christmas Eve and then making breakfast or brunch the Christmas Day meal event. Maybe you could do a community service project, or get a holiday movie marathon tradition going–everyone can pick one movie. And think about inviting someone who is alone to share some part of the holiday. There are so many ways to make things memorable. I’m living alone now but I spent time before the holiday making decorations (me doing crafts!! Who knew!) and baking, which I haven’t done in 20 years.

Gypsy57
Gypsy57
9 years ago

Personally, unless he SPECIFICALLY *ASKS* to see your child on those holidays, I wouldn’t bring it up. As much as he may try to use the ‘she-denied-me-access-to-my-child-on-major-holidays’, your trump card is, “HE NEVER ASKED TO SEE HIM”. It really isn’t up to YOU to ‘offer’, but it’s up to HIM to ask!

Connie
Connie
9 years ago
Reply to  Gypsy57

Amen Gypsy57! I am getting into the habit of that now with just regular visitation. I don’t ask him if he wants to see our son on the weekends. He will let me know and if he doesnt’, then no visitation. And if he waits until Thursday to ask, then still NO. I have a life and I make plans. I won’t let his lazy self mess them up.

He doesn’t ask, I am not offering. And I document, document, document!!!!

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

i would also tell him that the child is used to santa coming to this house or the house he is in so of course christmas morning MUST BE at your house. if he wants to see him, he will have to see him after the morning rush to open presents and whatever. i agree that afternoon would be good unless you have something you go to.

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

I am with you. It is no longer your responsibility to organize his life or anything. If he doesn’t bring it up, you have that much more ammo for when you do have to get the custody officially sorted out. Also, keeping your son as much as possible benefits you, and your son and your custody arrangement. When the time comes, you can say, I have had him 24/7 from this date to now. Dickhead didn’t even ask to see him on Thanksgiving and Xmas. So I think I have full custody and would like full child support, thank you very much.

Lyn
Lyn
9 years ago

Ugh, my ex also kept it quiet after he left. I was flabbergasted when I had to break the news to his brother, who was supposedly his closest friend on earth. When they slink away and hide after blaming everything on you, it speaks pretty loud and clear about shame IMO. Either that or extreme laziness. Connie, best of luck to you on the holidays. The first holidays are tough after divorce, even when the kids are grown. Here a local church is holding a seminar on surviving the holidays after divorce, I was thinking about going. My problem is my kids are grown and won’t be home, one will be out of town and the other always goes to his wife’s house for Christmas (although he spends T’giving with us). I don’t know what I’ll do after my parents are gone, but for now am very grateful to have them around to spend the holidays with. I’m also going to try to look for others who are struggling through the holidays and do something nice for them.

Connie
Connie
9 years ago
Reply to  Lyn

Lynn, I hear you. On Christmas Day, it was always: open presents, eat an awesome big breakfast, veg and then go to my parents for more presents, food and fun. And on Christmas Eve we always threw a party with my family and neighbors and played bingo. No reason to stop all that now. We’ll just do it again…minus one. And maybe do a Christmas Eve service at our church. I always wanted to go and we always traveled on the holidays when I was growing up. That will be a new tradition for us. I will still decorate like a crazy person and make a BIG deal of it all for my son!!!

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

Will your parents let your ex come to their house to celebrate? You might want to find out what they would do if he asks.

Could you ex pick up your son at your parent’s house and take him to his house or a restaurant or whatever for a few hours? That might be a good way for your son to have all his old traditions and still see his dad for a bit.

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

that is another good reply IF he calls. i can tell him “when you walked out on your family, you gave up the right to do special things with the kids.” and “it is not my fault you are not going to see them for Christmas eve (he knows we go to church) or christmas morning (when they are opening santa gifts and others), this is what you wanted when you choice your hood rat over your family.”

he can spend christmas with whatever things his new hood rat does with him. after all it was sooOOOoo much better then what we ever did for him for 14 years. i will more then likely allow him to come over to deliver his gifts for a couple of hours christmas day before 3:00 when we go to my sister for christmas dinner and opening the rest of the gifts at her house. however, i wouldnt be surprised if he doesnt call or come by.

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I’m not suggesting that she invite her ex. I’m wondering what her parents might do. She can’t control them.

nicolette14
nicolette14
9 years ago

Connie,

CL explained everything and as usual her advice is right on the money! I doubt your asswipe would really care if he sees his son on Christmas, he have a new fuck and more than likely he will want to spend his “2 days off” with his skank, so no worries there. If your son asks if Santa will go to his daddy’s new place just tell your son, “Santa will be coming to your house because Santa comes and brings gifts for awesome, great little boys just like him and all the gifts Santa would bring for him will be under the tree in your house”. Your son is very young and there is no need for him to be affected in anyway, just because of the shitty decisions that his daddy made and there is no need for your little boy to spend any time in a one bedroom apartment on Christmas. Like CL said, since you have the physical custody of your son and your asswipe already moved out of the marital home, specially without signed court order, your asswipe doesn’t have a leg to stand on to do anything or force you to hand over your son over to him any given day. So if he yaps about anything just do exactly what CL said; just turn that Christmas tune “Dominick the Donkey” up really loud into the phone. 🙂

PS: it’s very interesting that he moved in to a one bedroom apartment instead of moving in to her house. I guess the OW, whom he risked you and your son for wasn’t that in to him, because if she really was, she would’ve let him move in with her. Which is very common by the way, because some OW only stay with guys like your idiot, as long as he was with someone else and when he is completely free the thrill is gone (predator women) so they move on to other men who are taken.

Einstein
Einstein
9 years ago
Reply to  nicolette14

I don’t think it was by accident that he mentioned he only had two days off. It’s my guess that he’s making it known that there won’t be a whole lot of time for the kid. Guys that run out on their families like that, usually do it whole-hog.

Home School Mama
Home School Mama
9 years ago
Reply to  nicolette14

The 1 bedroom apartment thing is a big deal when considering child custody. If he wants “parenting time” (not that these jerks ever parent! – maybe should be called something else: drunken neglectful time, abusive time, psychotic ranting time, etc.), your son will have to have his own bedroom, with his own bed, clothes at the house, etc. Use that information to your advantage.

Connie
Connie
9 years ago

HIm getting a one-bedroom apartment when he had the option of getting a 2-bedroom apartment speaks volumes to me about his prioirities. It seems location (in relation to OW) was paramount over making any accommodations for our son. He had to get a furnished unit for crying out loud as he took nothing from our home with him. It’s a sad little place and I think in my rural county, the courts WILL consider his decisions.

Kira
Kira
9 years ago

Honestly, I wouldn’t count on it. Well, maybe for custody, but I definitely wouldn’t count on it for overnight visitation. Absolutely document it, bring it up to your lawyer, but don’t count on him having a one-bedroom apartment and no real place for the child as a negative against him.

Diana L
Diana L
9 years ago

I think it’s worth considering letting the two of them get together on Christmas Day.

For one thing, although you don’t have to do it legally, showing that you are making an effort to accommodate your ex and promote a good relationship with your kid would look good. I don’t think all judges care about extra-marital affairs when it comes to child custody. You could ask your lawyer about this one.

Mostly, though, I think you have to accommodate your kid at Christmas. That might or might not mean having him see his Dad. It depends a lot on your kid’s feelings and how your ex is treating him.

I think it’s way too much to have your ex come into your house and I don’t think you should pretend to be friends and do things together. I think you should be able to have your kid wake up Christmas morning at home and get his presents and stockings with you.

Then, I think it may make sense for your kid to go spend part of the day with your ex.

In the end, I don’t think there’s one formula for this. It depends so much on what your kid would want and how your ex will act. Does your kid hate seeing the OW? Can you trust your ex not to have her there? Does your kid like your ex’s new apartment? Is there some other place the two of them could go like grandma’s house? Does your kid miss his dad? Will dad give him a good holiday experience?

GladIt'sOver
GladIt'sOver
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

I agree with Diana. No way let him into your home (if he even asks), but do let your son spend a few hours on Christmas with his dad, if the dad requests this. Later in the afternoon, after gifts are opened and enjoyed. This will look good in court, and it also is best for your son, who is entirely innocent of his dad’s being a fuckwad, but presumably still loves his father.

MrsVain
MrsVain
9 years ago
Reply to  GladIt'sOver

i would rather have him at my house then have my kids at who knows wheres house. XH enjoys company of drug dealing cousins, and crack whore sisters. i am not sure where he would take my kids too. even if it is to one of his almost normal family members house, my kids have not been visiting his family very often and would more then likely be uncomfortable. and very likely ignored.

Home School Mama
Home School Mama
9 years ago
Reply to  Diana L

You are so right, Diana L!
Connie: Judges don’t give a rat’s behind about cheaters. That’s why most states are “no-fault” states. What they care about right now, is “Father’s Rights”. They will say they are looking at what is in the “Child’s Best Interest”, however, it’s not true. It is all about FR right now in the legal system. If you show that you are being unreasonable, they will nail you. You will have to start working on a plan. It doesn’t mean that you have to offer it. Wait for him to ask. But you need to decide, does he get Eve and you get Day? When is the trade off (not him at your house)? Does it stay that way every year? Does it rotate even and odd years? It’s sucks!!!! But I am just trying to help you get prepared for what is ahead of you.

Kira
Kira
9 years ago

Amen to all of that, Home School Mama! I’ve seen so many people blindsided by the court system. So many people hauled in over visitation schedule fights, the phrase “parental alienation” thrown around, etc. And the few sole custody single dads I know have had the same battle.

Home School Mama
Home School Mama
9 years ago

Connie: Are you still home schooling and do you intend to continue to home school? Is your STBX supportive of this? If he is, then you need to get it in writing NOW!!! If you don’t, there could be some very serious backlash coming your way that will only make your son suffer for years to come. Develop some kind of written plan and description of what is in the “BEST INTEREST” (buzz words for the court) for your son. Have him sign it. Do not tie this to spousal maintenance or child support or anything. Simply make it an educational plan that outlines your son’s needs, why he needs to be home schooled vs. placed somewhere else, your short and long term goals for his education, etc. Remember, the more backbone you have, the more backlash you will get. I am not saying don’t have one – on the contrary. What I am saying is get your ducks in a row an be prepared for the worst.

Connie
Connie
9 years ago

Home School Mama,
I am no longer homeschooling. It was just too much for me when everything hit the fan. I was already so tired from homeschooling and working the night shift until midnight. I was grateful for the change. My son got a great start by being homeschooled n the early years. He is doing GREAT in school. I actually think this is where God wants us to be and I am at peace with it. That is not to say that I am done with homeschooling. It is still an option for us in the future. I will address this in the custody mediation/court when our time comes. He did support it and never gave me any problems. He trusted me with our son’s education. However, I don’t know him anymore so I do need to protect my options.

kimmy
kimmy
9 years ago

January 2013 I booted my cheating husband out the door. He also did not want to admit that he was no longer living with his wife and daughters. You know how I figured it out? My Christmas cards!!! Every year I do a photo Xmas card, usually our daughters or all of us together. I did one of my daughters and I….AT THEIR REQUEST!!! LOL Anyway…..sent it out and some people contacted me totally stunned. AND…..I also received MANY Xmas cards addressed to Mr. and Mrs.!!!!!!

Last year I did invite my exH (divorced wasn’t final yet) to Christmas morning along with his parents and his brother and wife. The inlaws have ALWAYS been there for the present unwrapping. I figured I could suffer through it for my girls. They are teenagers and they expressed an interest in them stiff being there. ExH said WOULD NOT show up and leave OW at their apartment alone. Oh well!!!!! His problem.

Since the divorce, there is next to no contact from the inlaws. I have had them over to see our new place and visit their grand children but they have not reached out to me. Therefore…..this Christmas in our new place will be completely different. I will invite them over anytime Christmas day so they can stop in to see my daughters but Christmas morning will be ALL MINE with my girls,

Home School Mama
Home School Mama
9 years ago
Reply to  kimmy

Maybe at least get final decision making. If not for everything, at minimum for educational decisions.

Rarity
Rarity
9 years ago

Our visitation schedule says I get the kids Halloween and Christmas, he gets the kids Thanksgiving and New Year’s this year. Next year we’ll switch.

I will not celebrate any part of those holidays with him. Like CL says, you lose the right to play happy family when you walk out on your family and cheat on your spouse.

Itneverends
Itneverends
9 years ago

So yeah holidays are crappy with wasbands involved. This post prompted ,e to pull out my standard visitation order to see what’s is store for me … So the I get the kids for thanksgiving , he gets them for Xmas and I guess New Years is not a holiday no mention of it. So if I will have the tree and gifts here in my house celebrating and empty house Christmas and not get them back till 12/28.. What’s the point?…..I guess they have to wait and open their gifts when they come back from their dads. I refuse to go to main laws to join in what used to be normal family celebrating as for me it will be very uncomfortable. I have no family in this state, so what am I to do. Tag along with my friends families Christmas seems weird and sad. I have honestly always hated holidays even when I was ok with the wasband, the deciding who’s side of the family we go to and always end up arguing. I guess I figure something out, here is hoping sAnta bring me my divorce to be final would be the best gift.

ringinonmyownbell
ringinonmyownbell
9 years ago
Reply to  Itneverends

INEnds, How about taking on some other Xmas traditions with your kids. You could put their shoes out on December 5 and fill them with Chocolates, like the Dutch do. You could use ever weekend to make a special batch of cookies with them and then start delivering them to friends. Also remember that Xmas doesn’t start for much of the world until December 24 and presents don’t arrive until the 3 wise men do and that is January 6th. Most of the Eastern Orthodox religions celebrate like this, as to Latin America. I have Polish friends and the tree doesn’t go up until Xmas eve. You could also have an Xmas Eve feast. There is so much fun stuff you can do… Christmas is about making memories. I know people who pick an Xmas tradition from around the world and celebrate like they do. You can have a lot more fun with your kids. Bugger that old Bugger!

Itneverends
Itneverends
9 years ago

Thanks for the suggestions

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago

Yeah….the holidays…they are coming and I’m sorry Connie that you are new to all this at this time of year.

When my h walked out on me I had some friends invite me to their house for a holiday celebration and it was so wretched. I felt like a token homeless person they invited from the mission. It was very nice of them to consider me and I appreciated it but it was all their happy family and it just made me feel even sadder. I stayed as long as I properly could and left. Grabbed a bottle of wine on the way home and went home and drank it and cried. Now I pump myself up for holidays. I take it from Jerry Seinfeld and call it ‘Festivus for the Rest of Us.’ I have a good friend who we try and out do each other with cheesy Christmas presents (all found at thrift stores of course) Last year I found her an antler hat that played ‘Grandma Got Ran Over by a Reindeer.’ I cook a big fabulous prime rib dinner for my family and invite all my single friends.

FreeWoman
FreeWoman
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

I love your style!

Kristil
Kristil
9 years ago

Their desire to have you continue to provide them with a respectable family image never ends. I think it comes from that place of pure entitlement – they believe that they will be able to have cake and experience no repercussions. They cant stand being revealed as the bad guy. And generally for some bizarre reason they actually believe that you will continue to make their life as simple as you have in the past. These people generally choose partners that are very family focused and provide a perfect picture to the world of respectability. We are good mothers, we create lovely families etc etc….. What they don’t realize is that when they betray you they also betray their children and their family. They don’t get to keep the wholesome image and it really bothers them.
Children like an intact family – it gives them a sound base and when those fucktard’s make the decision to start sticking their dicks in other vagina’s they show they don’t actually put anybody’s needs above satisfying their own selfish desires – including those of their children. As soon as we have children we are no longer masters of our own destiny – for normal people the best interests of those children are always our priority – but not for cake eaters – they see that as ‘your’ job …. they get to do what ever feels good for them … no consequences and so they reveal themselves for what they truly are – selfish pricks.
Of course he will want you to continue to allow him to enjoy the benefits of family holidays – were he had once played a central figure, but he voided his right to be a participant in those special celebrations when he chose to put his needs above what was best for his child and his family. He will tell you that him spending time at your house for holidays is what is best for your son – this is bullshit – he wants what is best for him – he wants all the benefits of being the great ‘Dad’ and the joy of special family occasions but he has forfeited his right to those moments.
My guess is that like most of us chumps you have been the main driver in your sons moral and spiritual education. You have taught him about honesty and the value of relationships and family and your husband has coasted along on the benefits of that for most of your sons – life while contributing very little in terms of effort or guidance. You are no longer required to engage in his relationship with his son and/or manage it – that is his work. You now have only an obligation to focus on developing your relationship with your son and providing memorable alternatives to special holidays for him to enjoy, which you will do. You will come up with new traditions and they will be totally awesome. You husband on the other hand – given that he takes only 2 days off work a year will continue to provide shit experiences and memories but that is not your concern – his life will be lesser for it.
Sadly your son needs to see who his father really is and whether he is prepared to put some effort into his relationship with him and you get to sit back and watch him struggle with the effort and emotional insight involved in that. Cake eaters are generally lazy in relationships ….they rarely have the energy required to develop meaning connections -even with their own children. for them life is generally all about their image and meeting their needs, having to focus on the needs of others is just confusing for them.
The good news is that you are no longer required to do anything that makes your husbands life easier or more enjoyable – and the times when they feel the true repercussion of their appalling behaviours is those special holiday ‘family’ times … he will try to avoid experiencing this loss by getting you to participate in a charade that allows him to avoid actually experience the repercussions of his unfaithfulness – the loss of his family ……do not allow him to manipulate you into that – let him suffer.
At some time in the future you will see how much time his absence actually frees up in your life to engage in meaningful and valuable relationships and how much time you have to focus on the things that make you happy. That is when you reach the sublime state of Meh.

Connie
Connie
9 years ago
Reply to  Kristil

Kristil, do you know me??? I think we should be friends!!! Do you live in the South by chance?!?!?! Thanks for the lovely post.

Lania
Lania
9 years ago

Christmas is a time for family – and given that he abandoned yours, he relinquishes all rights to celebrate it with you and your son. He made his bed, he can bloody well lay in it.
As for him trying to fluff up his story where nobody knows of his cheating, thats on him. He can’t control you – and by them not knowing of the situation its a lie by omission. Screw that.

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago

Lot of pain and anger coming through, I get it, I would likely have the same feelings in your shoes. I have no kids, and often on this site I hear how lucky I am. I just want to remind you parents how lucky YOU are to have the kids. Despite having to deal with the cheater over holidays, custody and visitation and all the rest of the fuckedupedness that I know you have to deal with, your kids love you and they are a rock for you as much as you are for them. I hope as you navigate the crazy train with your ex’s you remember that those kids and you will be on the same trail together for a lifetime. You have a family minus one, find the joy. My parents divorced when I was 11 years old and there were issues, but I remember holidays happily anyhow. I think your kids will too.

PS: I’m not asking for a pity party here, so don’t ya’ll start. I DO want you to think about the alternative. I put up a tree each year, it’s beautiful and I love it, there are no presents under it and no kids to tell to be careful with the ornaments. I have no one to share it with, that tree is only for me. So even if you have to share your kids time with the ex/AP, at least they are in your life, family; you have it. Celebrate your time with less anger at what you do not have, and more joy in what you do have.

Connie
Connie
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

I am so grateful for my son. We got pregnant through IUI when I was 35. It was such a blessing. I now believe that the sole purpose for my 12 year marriage was to have him. He is my greatest joy and we have been a rock for each other. I believe that God has plans for us that required the removal of my husband. I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday because it was so fitting:

“Sometimes bad things happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.”

Can I get an amen??

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  Connie

Indeed you can Connie, amen!

My saying is similar “if nothing bad ever happened to us, how would we know what good looked like?”

Drew
Drew
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

Beautifully said, Datdamwuf, I think we all need to be grateful for what we do have in our lives. Good health, a job, friends. When my ex abandoned our family he left me, his wife of 20 years, with three beautiful young adults. They are easily my best blessings. I remember thinking that we could allow his crap life decision to define us (and it has impacted us in both good and bad ways) or we could finally work really hard to have the life we deserved. Because in all that time together we were wasting our time, our precious lives, on “his life.” It’s so freeing now to have choices. To not have that negative belittling distant influence. To not be isolated and hundreds of miles away from extended family. You know that ol’ eighties film Risky Business? We have adopted a new family motto, ” Sometimes you gotta say What the Fuck and move on.” So as a family we no longer tolerate many things: lies, hurting others, unkind words and deeds. They understand now that our actions define us. There’s a great freedom spending time together with those you really love and who really love you. I think we all realized how much life always revolved around my downer ex. He always found ways to sabatoge our great days. Birthdays, holidays, vacations. (All those lies get in the way, you know, but I was blind to it then.) My children and I, on one of our first holidays together, flew to the east coast (firstborn had moved to DC after graduating college) and spent two weeks on a very frugal budget exploring DC and then NY City. Fun times. We played tourist, ate out, and just plain enjoyed each other’s company. We volunteered at the neighborhood soup kitchen, great people there! and it was easily one of our greatest memories. My kids and I now collect “experiences” and appreciate any time we make to spend together. It’s a challenge though. ;/ We are intentional about what is most important, our family, and we honor that. DDW, I suspect you are a fellow kindred spirit whose gifts were wasted on someone incapable of truly loving you. I work with teens and undergrads and the impact I have on their lives is great when I just give them my time. I would encourage you to gather your own family close, and they need not be related–my kids, being scattered to the winds, do this :)and I thank those who embrace and value my children when I am so far away–so I hope you reach out to others. At work, at play, teaching, doing things you enjoy. Life is too short not to share your gifts with those who will truly appreciate them.

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  Drew

It all sounds lovely Drew, I am so happy for you. To both of you, I was pretty much completely isolated by the time I got rid of ex, all the friends gone save two; I thought it would be easy to meet people and find a tribe again, it’s not so much. I am trying. I need to find a local place & cause I care about and volunteer. So far, I created a neighborhood website and most folks have joined it, they put me on the Civic Association board, because of it I guess. I’m happy enough most of the time, we all need people, it’s in our DNA. No worries, last night was one of those times when I was regretting the decision not to have kids. Probably because I was carving a pumpkin and it came out great, so I sat in the dark looking at it alone, the cats were not impressed, heehee. Trust me, those days pass pretty quick.

Tempest
Tempest
9 years ago
Reply to  Datdamwuf

Good points. I would add that there are a lot of single people around the holidays who would probably enjoy your tree; construct a family to share the holidays with.

Syringa
Syringa
9 years ago

That’s true Dat.

But I read these stories about fathers walking away from their kids and I just can’t think of a more worthless waste of skin. Who does this shit? Walk away from your children for what? Who in the world has such magical genitals to make someone do that? I can’t wrap my head around it.

My cheater XH and I never had kids together but while we were married my daughter adopted a set of adorable twins from China and they loved their ‘Papa’ so much and I thought he loved them. He was in their lives for years and they spent a lot of time with us. He walked out on all of us and never looked back. He’s never seen those girls again. They’ve pretty much forgotten him now. I always felt so bad for them. Their birth parents abandoned them and he did too. Somewhere in their little psyches they remembered being left in buckets in a ditch. Then this sparkly turd abandoned them too. He just had to have his skank woman. Obviously she was worth more than his wife and grandkids and home and dog and money. She must be one bad ass platinum pussy bitch. Ha!

Datdamwuf
Datdamwuf
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

Syringa, nope, you are thinking the wrong way around – HE was not worthy of you, your daughter or the twins, end of story.

Drew
Drew
9 years ago
Reply to  Syringa

No, she isn’t worth anything. Oh, new pussy. Just as he isn’t. Old dick. She made him feel special, Syringa, because these people never feel special about the way they have chosen to live their lives. My ex was the world’s sparkliest turd. But friends? Nobody of value liked him because all that mattered to him was what he wanted. When life happened, when life threw challenges our way, he ran. He never “manned up.” I think this inability to be a decent person leads people to cheat. They are missing something. Heck, look at all those celebrities who cheat. I mean what makes a guy like Arnold Shwarzenneger fuck the convenient housekeeper, have a child, and hide the secret for ten years!?!? From his wife and kids!?! Who should have been his LIFE and only priority…. People, right? the same as your ex and mine, they just don’t think, or behave, the way we do. And they have all their shit reasons too. Our club is so much better! 😉

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
5 months ago

Sadly this BS extends beyond our childrens’ childhoods.

Our children have never, in the 8 years since she left us, spent Christmas with Ex-Mrs LFTT; they have always spent the holidays with me because Ex-Mrs LFTT is too busy living her “fabulous life.” Plot spoiler, it’s not fabulous, but that’s another thing entirely.

The kids (now 27, 24 and 20) and I have a fantastic plan for the holiday period (about 8 visitors on Christmas Day and 15 or so on Boxing Day, including Ex-Mrs LFTT’s Mother and Sister, as well as SIL’s two boys). What we have no idea about is what Ex-Mrs LFTT’s plans are to see our children or drop her presents to them off are. She will probably, as she does every year, announce something last minute, get p*ssed of because the kids already have plans and aren’t available, and then act all butthurt about it.

Very much not my problem, but I would have to have a heart of stone not to find the whole thing amusing.

LFTT

Reading Lass
Reading Lass
5 months ago

I threw a tantrum October 2017, part of which was to tell my sons I would be polite on big occasions but joint birthdays etc were now a thing of the past. I did try the conscious uncoupling but he could not make the effort.

Every year I announce what I will be doing with or without them and every year that is more fun than Dads so my pragmatic sons turn up

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
5 months ago
Reply to  Reading Lass

Oddly enough, it was the kids that put the “f*ck that sh*t already” on joint occasions. Ex-Mrs LFTT insisted in a “show of unity” for eldest daughter’s graduation in 2018. Eldest daughter and I were dreading it ….. and yet Ex-Mrs LFTT somehow managed to make it even worse that we thought that it would be.

Fast forward a few years ….. and our son graduated during COVID, and his delayed graduation ceremony was to be held the following year. He just “noped out” and asked for his certificate to be posted to him as soon as Ex-Mrs LFTT started pushing to attend. Part of me feels sorry that he missed out on a major life occasion where he would ordinarily be celebrated for the day. That said, I am very pleased that he knew how it would play out if Ex-Mrs LFTT attended and felt empowered to say “no.”

LFTT

Reading Lass
Reading Lass
5 months ago

My younger son, now 22, joined the Navy more or less straight from school. During the pandemic, when he was on leave, I would overhear him on long phonecalls with his father discussing life. This summer he made several efforts to engage me on the subject of “Dad is a very selfish person”!

LookingForwardsToTuesday
LookingForwardsToTuesday
5 months ago
Reply to  Reading Lass

RL,

It’s very empowering for them to be able to see toxicity for what it is – even it’s from a parent – as it allows them to put boundaries in place to protect themselves. I’d say that’s a huge step for your son.

Here’s hoping your son stays safe; he has followed a worthy calling.

LFTT

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
5 months ago

The OP was in very early days and still without a parenting schedule. I hope that she found some way to acknowledge that her son’s father was still part of his life and did not completely block holiday week access. I don’t think it’s necessary for chumps to facilitate visits with FW’s family or to insist on cramming multiple present openings into the same day. Nor should mythical creatures such as Santa Claus or elves on shelves be used to heighten anxiety.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

She seems to be moving towards full custody. I wholeheartedly support the fact that California and Hawaii have deemed that abusers who subject partners to “coercive control”– aka, a pattern of “subviolent” emotional, psychological and often financial abuse/control that should be very familiar to every chump on earth– can lose custody and visitation. So I don’t hope the OP has to acknowledge that the FW is part of the life of the child the FW abandoned. I hope she succeeds in her efforts to free herself and her son from this gaping void.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago

Make that all past tense the events are from a long time ago.

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
5 months ago

I’m not sure one can draw a straight line from every case of infidelity and separation to “coercive control” and abandonment. And it would be difficult to successfully pursue an extreme custody position without specific legal counsel. The OP seemed more focused on schedule and gifts.

hush
hush
5 months ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

You seem more focused on the abandoner-parent’s image and entitlement to holiday time here than on any of the best interests of the child factors clearly presented: “crappy apartment” is shorthand – read it again because your cheater-centered chumpiness is definitely showing.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

Aside from domestic abuse survivors, another category of survivors who come to understand the underlying “social ruin” threat within DARVO accusations are those suffering racial discrimination. For example, I’m currently supporting a friend who was just subjected to a really scary racial attack by a neighbor. My friend, a neuroscientist by training, never studied the psycho-social aspects of PTSD, only the neurological elements, so she wasn’t prepared to deal with her own stress response from having this neighbor corner her in the corridor of the apartment building, bellow racist epithets at her and grab his junk to punctuate the verbal attack. She didn’t understand why, several days later, her hands were shaking, why she couldn’t sleep for three nights, why a thunder storm made her jump out of her skin. Then she felt even worse for the shame of wondering “what’s wrong with me for responding his way??”

My friend obviously knows a lot more than I do about stress hormones but my “wheelhouse” was pointing out what the “ancient message” was in this guy’s behavior, which was unambiguously “rape and murder.” Furthermore, several things made the verbal assault and violent gestures even worse. Obviously #1 is the history of racial violence. Secondly is the fact this is a luxury building and the racist neighbor wasn’t just some trailer trash thug but a wealthy douche (turned out to profit from sweatshops). Meaning he might have the power and resources to back up his threatening behavior and also to get away with it. Thirdly, the guy had zero shame. He did it in front of his wife and daughter and then continued parts of the verbal assault even after the doorman intervened and police arrived, which demonstrated that this guy expected to have support of the “mob.” The fact that he was so convinced of his own righteousness and so convinced the “mob” would be on his side made the coded threat in his behavior even more potent and spellbinding. The message went right past my friend’s very sophisticated, hyper-educated, world-traveler brain and lodged right in her nervous system without her consent. This is exactly WHY abusers do what they do. It’s all a nervous system hack that even the strongest, most intelligent people can’t control.

Just as predicted, this guy and his equally heinous wife then engaged in classic DARVO character assassination. What this guy had screamed at my friend in person was only a rehearsal of what he would tell other people. The racist douche and his idiot wife started telling members of the resident association that my friend was the problem. So the message to my friend’s ancient risk management faculty was “we will get backup and together we will destroy you.” Again, in times of yore, this is equivalent to holding a gun to someone’s head. The threat was that she was going to get thrown out of the tribe (and her home). Regardless of whether someone has the means to simply move or fight the defamation, the ancient nervous system still starts bracing for starvation, death from exposure and saber tooth tiger attacks.

Fortunately in this situation not everyone was taken in by the smear campaign and it backfired against the perpetrators. Turns out that the retired attorney neighbor my friend had a friendly rapport with is president of the building’s resident association and wields a lot of influence. The retired attorney sought my friend out and made it clear that everyone was going to be on my friend’s side and some would testify on her behalf regarding the discriminatory nature the smear campaign. And, no surprise, my friend went back to her apartment and slept for 16 hours straight because the potent, ancient threat of rapey-ape mob violence which is arguably at the heart of DARVO attacks had apparently subsided a bit. The “tribe” sided with her and that message also bypassed all intellectual faculties and went straight to her nervous system.

Anyway, another illustration of why DARVO = “social coercion” and should eventually be categorized as a form of coercive control.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  Stepbystep

I’m waiting for the studies on it but, in my experience as a former advocate for domestic violence survivors, virtually all cheaters engage in coercive control to facilitate deception. In my view, cheating by definition arguably shares the core MO of domestic violence, which is the enforcement of one-sided monogamy. If it didn’t, then cheaters would openly offer “consensual non-monogamy.” In other words, the point of the deception is quite obviously control. That bit couldn’t be more clear.

As for what constitutes “coercion,” the interpretation of this varies but, because the coercive control criminalization movement is so new and still evolving, front line victims’ advocates tend to have a better ability to recognize the distinctly coercive nature of certain behaviors that may not yet have official legal definitions. For instance “DARVO.” My personal theory is the reason abusers engage in this isn’t merely to gaslight or make victims feel “guilty” but also as a threat of what you might call “social ruin.” By bellowing out a bunch of heinous accusations against the victim, the abuser is “demo-ing” to the victim what the abuser intends to tell other people (or officials– like police, judges, dependency court officials, etc.) and also “demo-ing” how “invested” the abuser is in the lies and, consequently, how “credible” this will make them seem to others. In other words, part of the threat is that the abuser shows how much they believe their own nonsense.

If you think about the fact that most of human evolution took place in either tribal or feudal conditions where a character assassination could easily lead to death for the target (either get them attacked by the mob or driven out of the tribe where they would likely die), then it makes sense that “DARVO” displays would trigger the same fight or flight response that threats of direct violence would produce. And that’s true even when the victim knows perfectly well that the accusations are bs.

Something else that makes this kind of social abuse more potent is that we’re living in an era when actual social nets and justice are somewhat unreliable, even illusory. I’ve known people who lost everything– even their children or lives– due to false character assassination. So one of the reasons that it works on people’s nervous systems much like having a gun waved in their face is because it actually CAN BE deadly. There are situations where telling someone “Don’t let that FW live in your head rent free” can be a bit unnecessarily shaming because, in fact, the FW may have taken up residence in the victim’s autonomic nervous system precisely because the abuser is genuinely threatening.

Anyway, hopefully specific coercive tactics like the above will eventually be recognized for what they are. The first thing that has to happen is more social research regarding coercive control and its effects. There are still critical gaps in social research regarding coercive control but on-the-ground domestic violence advocates are now starting to list infidelity as a standard “weapon” in the coercive control arsenal. And one thing is quite clear from the research: that most DV survivors list CC as the worst, most paralyzing and damaging aspect of DV even beyond physical assault.

OHFFS
OHFFS
5 months ago

I agree. Cheaters and APs are bullies at heart, which is part of why being cheated on is so traumatic. You feel that it is an attack and a threat of more attacks, because it is. As you say, there may not be a conscious awareness of it, but it’s there and your brain responds accordingly.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Oh, oh, oh, social science geek brainstorm! What do you want to bet that– if anyone ever studied the subject– APs and FWs are more prone to condemn insurgents in colonized countries (in other words, those who push back against hegemonic invasion and occupation by foreign exploiters) as “terrorists”?

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Cheating is definitely one of those major stress experiences that bring out the ancient hardwired animal programming. For instance, I always marvel when idiots say, “Don’t hate the side piece.” It’s like telling someone who just inhaled water not to cough. Better to tell APs “Don’t invade Poland if you don’t want WWII.”

Since few chumps ever act on those ancient instincts, I think what’s being called “hate” is just a secondary defense reaction to a situation which, in prehistory, would have carried a significant risk to the chump and the chumps’ children if just from displacement and loss of resources but also worse: Paleolithic APs might have periodically attempted to off chumps or compel FWs to do it. FWs, for whom love is really just monkey territoriality, have their own subconsciously murderous thing going on too where they can’t stand to think of former victims moving on to better pastures. The whole situation screams of risk of danger.

Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
5 months ago

Ah, the good old holidays. The ex was pissed this year because I have them Christmas Eve and her true love’s family always celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. She asked if she could have them on Christmas Eve and I said I will drop them off when I am done conducting our family time activities…that wasn’t good enough. Again, false legal action was threatened and a lot of butthurt on her end. So, now she won’t see them until our agreed upon time per our parenting schedule Christmas Day.

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago

Christmas was a factor in why our kids decided to cut him off. As these things go, it’s a long twisted story. They were in college during the split, and his actions were not those of a parent who wanted an honest relationship with them. He finally resorted to sending large checks in cards for Christmas and birthdays which didn’t exactly buy their affections. I stepped back and kept my mouth shut. They used the funds for college and car repairs, which was a responsible choice. They never did see him face-to-face after he took off to another state.

Nothing in 2023 though, so I guess he got tired of us because we didn’t play his game. I was told by a relative of his that his latest squeeze is serious, so he’s probably busy with that as well.

VulcanChump
VulcanChump
5 months ago

I see this was the Christmas season almost a decade ago. I would love to hear from Connie or her son about how things are going – especially now that kiddo is a teenager.

Reading Lass
Reading Lass
5 months ago

Thanks. All us Brits now have 2 more Xmas chores. Wonder what is it about America that has any child over 6 believing in Santa and Google Dominick the Donkey!

Chump Lady is bang on the money. Xmas with Dad is at best a Sat 23rd sleepover.

Mighty Warrior
Mighty Warrior
5 months ago
Reply to  Reading Lass

😂 To true Reading Lass. I’ve decided not to Google as my brain has no space free for more information. It’s full up at the inn.

Mighty Warrior
Mighty Warrior
5 months ago
Reply to  Mighty Warrior

Too true even!

thrive
thrive
5 months ago

Some of the best advice I received from my lawyer was that guilt has an expiration date. During this time when he is feeling guilty, negotiate the divorce agreement and domestic agreement. It is natural to feel unjustly treated and want revenge. Turn that revenge into something with real outcomes for your future life. A Christmas away from the family may make him want to negotiate. Know what you want and go for it. Good luck! Hugs!

OHFFS
OHFFS
5 months ago

To choose some chippy over his family means he’s a poor excuse for a father. I don’t think chumps are obligated to facilitate the unhealthy relationships cheaters inevitably have with their kids. I do not believe it is possible to be a loving parent and choose crotch pleasure and ego over the best interests of your kids.

I wonder what happened with Connie’s story. I’m going to guess FW faded away out of his son’s life, after he failed at hoovering Connie when he broke up with the AP.

Last edited 5 months ago by OHFFS
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
5 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

“Chippy”– lol.

Squeaks
Squeaks
5 months ago

ngl, I’m feeling pretty sour over Christmas. I was The Christmas Person. I planned, purchased, wrapped, mailed all the gifts for my family and FW’s — he was often as surprised on Christmas morning by the kids’ gifts as the kids were. I planned/shopped for/cooked/cleaned up after the meal. FW “didn’t like Christmas”.

But NOW, he NEEDS our small children for half of the Christmases so his receptacle can play happy families with them. She has her own fkn kid and family. I have had no control over this, and he’s taken this thing that meant nothing to him and so much to me, just out of sheer selfish cruelty. Fuck the pair of them.

Rarity
Rarity
5 months ago

Ooo, a post that I commented on 9 years ago, fun!

I have continued the holiday rotation. FW gets them for Christmas on odd years, for Thanksgiving on even years.

But holidays at FW’s apartment have usually sucked. Last year, my son came back from Thanksgiving crying that they didn’t do a big Thanksgiving meal, so I had to do a second mini-Thanksgiving the first weekend of December for son. FW seems to only give them thrift store crap for Christmas, probably doesn’t spend more than $25-$50 on them. They get their best presents from me and their step-father. I don’t recall either of them ever getting a Christmas gift from FW that they adored.

And it can’t be “FW is too poor to have Thanksgiving and good Christmas presents.” I was *extremely* poor while married to FW and for my ~4 years post-divorce as a single mom. I *always* made sure the kids had presents and a good Thanksgiving meal, even if I had to get Thanksgiving baskets and donation presents from charities. FW just doesn’t want to put in the effort.

In any case, things remain extremely good in my FW-free household and we are looking forward to holiday trips this year. Merry Christmas Chump Nation!

2xchump
2xchump
5 months ago

Just a plug for a Patreon membership and yesterday’s podcast by Dr Sandra Brown. What struck me, and speaks to this topic…Is all the feelings chumps have inside them not to hurt feelings or be mean or set boundaries and limits. As a Chump I wrung my hands, cried real tears, hurt for everyone but myself. Yes i even felt sad for the cheater not being able to take his newborn to see OW and her family!!!
Set limits and then unset them. Boundaries and NO, I cant do that.. OH but I feel so bad for them. This personality I have which will not cause a stir, not make anybody upset with me. This dynamic Is what attracts and keeps dark personalities with no compassion, no conscience and high on themselves lying cheaters. We feel pain…. but oh they feel pretty good making demands. Ordering chumps about like a pet. This feeds their ego and I crumble with whatever they request. Too much loyalty, too much trust, too much.empathy, too much mourning, too much love and way too much weakness. That was me.My first cheater was a bully and would come by, after the divorce and demand his kids. Put his foot in the door.The user people get high off of pain, especially mine. So limits are needed early on. You start off strong and you can give in later if they have good behavior and are controlled with all the negatives. You can’t get tougher once you get blown over, but you can give more later -on if you wish. Say what you mean, mean what you say is my only advice. Remember that allowing a bully to knock you flat will only make them try that again. It is fun for them.
And again. Chump lady is such a great interviewer. She does the podcasts and keeps her righteous indignation right up there. I can feel the fury for the underdog, that still rests in her bosom. Well done+

M1
M1
5 months ago

Santa doesn’t visit shitty cheater people no matter what their living quarters look like. Cheaters belong to Krampus.

hush
hush
5 months ago
Reply to  M1

The Krampus!!! Yep. It drags cheaters right to hell where they belong. May all cheaters get swiftly eaten by The Krampus in 2023! 🐐

Mehitable
Mehitable
5 months ago

Dear Connie – you don’t have any obligations at all to this POS. Your only obligation is to your CHILD and what is best for him – and you. STBX should not factor into these decisions AT ALL except as the law may force you to do eventually. Take advantage of the NOW to set your new traditions and holiday practices without him. Focus on what you and your child need for security and stability. This is what STBX has earned by abandoning you and his son. He has made his decision to live a new life with another woman and all that entails. In doing that, he has destroyed his wife, his home, his family, his son. That is a price he was willing to pay to be in this new relationship with a woman low enough to help him do these things. One of the major reasons adultery is so common now is that people accept it and don’t give out any consequences, which makes it easy for them to do these horrible things. Don’t make it easy for him. MAKE IT HARD. It’s what he deserves. As for your son, he doesn’t deserve this of course, but this is your HUSBAND’S DECISION, not yours. This is the trade-off your STBX was willing to make to get what HE wanted in life at the expense of everyone else. If he was unhappy in his marriage, his obligation was to tell you right when he became aware of these feelings instead of starting a relationship with someone he intended to REPLACE YOU AND HIS SON WITH, and try to fix the marriage. If that was not possible, then to openly and cleanly end it and work with you to create as much stability for your son as possible. He did not care about that, he just wanted what HE wanted and he got it. Unfortunately that does not include having the remnants of the family and traditions he shattered. Tell your son the truth about what happened, always tell the truth. That moms and dads are NOT allowed to have boyfriends and girlfriends in marriage and that he decided he would rather be with this other woman than both of you. Because that IS the truth. Your son will see it for himself eventually but you can help him get to clarity and stability sooner if you just tell him the truth. Your idea bout the card with just you and your son is a fantastic one. It’s important to also tell the truth to your family and friend group – not only because the news needs to get out and you shouldn’t lie for him – the bad opinion of friends and family are part of the cost of having Schmoopie – but because you can’t let him get ahead of the narrative by making you out as some kind of cross between Cruella DeVille and Shrek….which he WILL start doing eventually. He may already be doing this – get your own truth, the REAL truth, out there as soon as possible. As Jack says in the great movie “Big Trouble in Little China”….”Sonofabitch must PAY!”.

Make new traditions with your son this year, I promise next year will be a LOT easier, but DO NOT GIVE AN INCH TO THIS SON OF A BITCH. This is what he wanted, what he created and it’s what he gets.

weedfree
weedfree
5 months ago

Narcs go right off around the festive season. They put all their efforts into Xmas day and then foot off the pedal the other 364. Hence the special court list for Xmas arrangements.
I gave narc everything he wanted plus some for the first two xmases. This year he is strangely silent other than a sad sausage message about wanting to go out on new years eve as he has “missed out for so long”. (Yeah douche cos you demanded that time)
Most of them go away eventually if you feign indifference.

Elsie_
Elsie_
5 months ago
Reply to  weedfree

Most of them go away eventually if you feign indifference.

That’s the hope. My ex kept popping up for quite awhile, almost always with some legal or pseudo-legal issue. Now we are nearly done with 2023, and we may well have gotten through a whole calendar year with no contact. Yes, his new supply probably helps with the situation too. I hope they stay together for a LONG time.

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
5 months ago

As a chump who had parents split before I was even born (no cheating from the either of them that I know of, although, both of them have insinuated the other has a history of it before, so…) I have… hopefully a good answer for my fellow chumps, despite having no kids myself.

See if you can have the littlest one(s) be at one place Christmas Eve, and the other on Christmas Day, if that’s manageable. Now, I’m biased. Some of my best memories come from that. It’s part of what made Christmas so special to me – Christmas Eve at one house, traveling to the other house at 3A.M. on Christmas morning. But maybe that’ll work for you guys! If FW isn’t capable of caring for the kid or isn’t trustworthy when it comes to keeping the child safe, obviously that makes it more difficult, but you’ll have to share custody most likely in some way. Or split the day, as others have suggested.

There is NO WAY, however, I would let a FW into the house for Christmas. That sounds like optimal hoovering time.

Last edited 5 months ago by Chump-Domain Cleric