Should I Encourage My Children’s Relationship with Their Gay Dad?

Hi Chump Lady,

Just listened to your podcast interview with Kristin on OurPath. Thanks for being candid and sharing your wisdom. You are an inspiration!

My story…

In 2007 I learned my husband was gay. I stayed in the marriage, hoping he would change and I could keep my family together. I have four children who, at the time, ranged in ages 9-17 years.

Right before the pandemic I found out he was in a relationship and confronted him about it. He said the man was just a “friend” and someone whom he was more of a “father figure” to; he was 20+ years younger than my ex and an illegal who barely spoke any English. I knew then I had to end my marriage but the pandemic complicated a divorce. When things started to reopen, I went away for a weekend with my youngest daughter and found out when I came back that my ex had brought his partner to the house and they slept in our bed. In June last year I filed for divorce and in January 2023 it was official.

Since March I’ve been living on my own and doing well. I’m at peace. I no longer have to look at my ex and be reminded of his betrayal and all the lies and deception. He destroyed my marriage, the family unity and robbed me of the opportunity to be in an authentic marriage, which I deserved.

While I hope to keep my distance from him, I’m not sure if my kids should stay in touch with their father and to what extent. They’re all adults now and most are married. Like me, they feel a deep betrayal and half of them would be happy never seeing their father again. I do know they feel some compassion for him and don’t want to abandon him. He is a pathetic man who has lost so much because of his narcissism and immoral and unethical behavior. Should I encourage or discourage them from any contact with their father?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this.

—Anna

***

Dear Anna,

You should NOTHING this. Your kids are now grown and their relationship with their father — good or ill — is absolutely none of your business.

You can feel hurt by that, or you can feel relieved that you no longer have to cover for him and be his PR agency. I suggest you choose relieved.

I know it’s hard — I bred with a fuckwit and spent many years as a single parent and have the unpaid child support to show for it. There is an unhealthy (but human) part of me that wishes my son wanted nothing to do with his deadbeat, shitty father. That he felt the outrage I feel about his father’s abandonment and utter lack of adulting.

But he’s a young person and he wants a relationship with his creepy, mentally ill father. However infrequent, however awkward, my son loves the miscreant. Mostly at a distance. It’s his complicated relationship to work out.

This is how I deal with it: I don’t bring his father up. If he brings his father up, I excuse myself to go chew on a leather strap or something. Or I deflect with Cool, Bummer, Wow. He’s an adult, it’s none of my business.

It’s not my son’s job to feel my pain about that relationship. I chose the jerk. I bred with the jerk. I own my terrible choices. Did I deserve any of that abuse? Absolutely not — but I do own putting up with it much longer than I should’ve. (I left when my son was 4.)

It’s also not my job to protect my son from his father. He’s an adult. He has to learn what he can and cannot expect from a fuckwit.

Just like my son cannot understand the vitriol I feel toward his father, I don’t understand his pain. What it is to be a child of divorce. To love a very flawed person. To not want animosity between his parents.

That doesn’t mean I have to pretend to be friends with my ex For The Children. It means we BOTH respect each other’s pain and respect each other’s navigation skills. When my son was 10, his father bummed $50 off him. That child — that future econ major — charged his father INTEREST on the loan. And collected it. He’s no dummy.

I can’t expect my child to be my loyal servant, bearing a grudge against his father for what he did to ME. (Do I want that sometimes? Oh absolutely. I’m human.) I have pointed out that it’s possible to have a relationship with someone from whom you need absolutely NOTHING, and that his relationship might be very different if he required assistance from his father.

But that’s the curse of the Show Up parent. Your kibbles are devalued, because you’re there. But that’s also the blessing — you’re THERE. Invested. And your kids know that. They know who shows up for them. It MATTERS.

Now let’s do you.

I learned my husband was gay. I stayed in the marriage, hoping he would change

Look, shame on him for not having the guts to end the marriage honestly. But as I preach here a lot, we only control ourselves. What we do after D-Day is on US. You chose to invest another decade-plus on a gay man in a straight marriage. It wasn’t a deal breaker. You can no more “change” someone’s sexual orientation than you can levitate an avocado.

Same goes with cheaters of every stripe — you cannot — and you’re not responsible for — “changing” them. You just get to choose what you will tolerate. You tolerated it. Big ((hugs)). You’re among chumps. But when you’re mad at your kids, remember what you modeled.

He destroyed my marriage, the family unity

I wish I could wave my magic Chump Lady wand and take you back to 2007. YOU are your family’s unity. You don’t need a fuckwit with a secret sexual life. Single parents are NOT less than! Down with “family unity”, up with SANE PARENTS.

I’m not sure if my kids should stay in touch with their father and to what extent.

Not your business. You don’t control this. Marriage police sucks. Divorce police is worse. Turn in your badge.

He is a pathetic man who has lost so much because of his narcissism and immoral and unethical behavior.

Right. His punishment is being him. The inauthentic life.

His sexual orientation has nothing to do with “immorality.” The sin here is the double life. It’s not unethical to be gay — it’s unethical to pretend to be one thing, when you’re something else. To let people invest in that false self to benefit one’s self.

You no longer have to be his beard.

Should I encourage or discourage them from any contact with their father?

What’s for dinner? Is it taco Tuesday? How are your peonies growing?

See how that works? He’s not in your life. You’re FREE. Behave accordingly.

He’s in their life? Not your problem! I think the peonies need fertilizing. Go be busy with that. Can’t talk now. Toodles.

 

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MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
10 months ago

“ You should NOTHING this. Your kids are now grown and their relationship with their father — good or ill — is absolutely none of your business.”

Yep. That was exactly what I was going to say.

Your adult children may want to talk to you about their dad. And you can choose to do that or not. But it’s not up to you to encourage them to have a relationship with him or not.

Consider yourself lucky. It’s far more difficult to navigate this when they are your minor children.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
10 months ago

I’ll be very surprised if CL can’t hear my enthusiastic applause from thousands of miles away, because it is LOUD!

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
10 months ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Infidelity creates horrific complicated issues for everyone connected to the cheaters, and even for people who don’t know the cheaters. IMHO the involved children of the cheaters get the worst of it.

We talk a lot about the pain of Switzerland friends here. We decry Switzerland friends. We launch Switzerland friends. Switzerland friends claim to love us both and we get very upset. How can you love someone who beat the emotional and psychological crap out of me? We want them to stand up for us. Loyalty fuses blow. Even adult minds cannot wrap themselves around the loyalty issues created.

And what about the involved children? Of course, children are not the same relationship as friends. The loyalty conundrum for the infidelity victim and the children is even more massive and mindf**cky because the children are essentially kidnapped and sentenced to live in Switzerland by the cheaters’ actions. Way more complicated to navigate than the Switzerland friends issue, but similar feelings are involved.

If infidelity were an assault rifle used on the betrayed parent, would that make the loyalty issues around the involved children clearer? It’s easy for many people to understand a child’s feelings toward a parent who physically assaults or murders the other parent. But when it’s “just cheating”? Unleash the debate.

(“Just cheating” is a phrase and a mindset that really upsets my daughter. She has had a front row seat 24/7/365 to how “just cheating” affected me. She does not appreciate anyone minimizing it.)

I do not interfere with my daughter’s feelings about her father. Initially she went off with him no problem whenever he had room in his schedule for her. I packed her things and told her to have a good time. I never said anything negative about him. (I hadn’t ever said anything negative about him ever, to anyone. Which I learned after DDay was not reciprocated.) Eventually she stopped speaking to him. He was lying to her too. She has a huge problem with how he treated me. She does not trust him. She shouldn’t. Her relationships are based on trust and safety. He doesn’t do trust and safety. Navigation of the relationship with her father is between her and the therapist I got her. It’s her right to do what she wants with this huge ungodly complicated emotional and psychological mess.

I must honestly report that this line has my ears back a bit:

“I can’t expect my child to be my loyal servant, bearing a grudge against his father for what he did to ME.“

Chump Lady, I adore you…I am not quite following here….I don’t believe cheating only violates the betrayed partner. I do have a problem with someone who hurts others, even if I don’t have a personal relationship with any of the directly involved parties. It’s not about bearing grudges or expecting loyal servitude from anyone.

I have taught my daughter since birth to steer clear of unsafe and untrustworthy people. Since even before she was born, I have not wanted her to suffer from misplaced trust and misplaced loyalty as I have.

The whole time I never once thought that her own father would put himself in that category.

What I have always taught her is that
how someone treats others, no matter who the others are, is critical information when considering who and how to associate with.

Trust and safety are the essential characteristics of a healthy relationship of any kind and it is my job to teach her what that looks like, to be an example of it. To care for her to teach her, to protect so she can learn to care for and protect herself. Everyone has the right to make decisions about their relationships based on truth, facts. She gets to decide what she wants to do, but she gets to do it with truth and facts. She has had a 24/7/365 front row seat to how infidelity has affected me, which also is part of the facts.

Critical and accurate lessons about trust and safety and loyalty are tragically destroyed when people cheat. Cheaters don’t consider that and can’t imagine the damage it causes because they don’t understand it to begin with.

My greatest sympathy is for the children involved. 😪

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
10 months ago

misplaced trust and loyalty are good topics for honest conversation. it’s complex. all this picking apart is a LOT OF WORK. sometimes i feel as if my x-ray specs are on all day and night, and, well, it’s exhausting.

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
10 months ago

i feel as if a friday topic should be FUN, how to have it. there’s so much work to this recovery effort.

Daughterofachump
Daughterofachump
10 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Chump Lady, this discussion reminds me of the situation I navigated as a young adult for 5 years after my mom left my dad. I finally went no contact with my father because frankly, I had no idea how to deal with a crazy alcoholic who insisted I agree with his version of reality.

JasonCh
JasonCh
10 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

What other instance would a parent be told to get back in line when dealing with a hazard / life lesson of this magnitude for their child?

I am not advocating getting out a cudgel or asking the child to carry water — i am advocating using this as a teaching moment. The child is doing the pick me dance to a slightly different tune. Looking for love, acceptance and safety to someone who is incapable of providing those things. The fuckwit intentionally takes all of that away from them.

I have come to the conclusion that us Chumps(tm) are put back in the box of not helping our children see what kind of person they are dealing with simply because we were the Chump and telling someone that they do not have the parent they deserve is very similar to telling someone that their spouse is using the family grocery getter to get something else. You have to be ready to receive that message and it takes awhile for the magnitude to sink in.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
10 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

“I’m VERY clear that what his father did (to HIM, not just me)”

Thanks for clarifying. It was just that one sentence that confused me.

XXOO

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
10 months ago

Today’s post got me thinking and it took me a long time to write my response.

I should clarify/add that my daughter’s opinions about infidelity have been shaped by how it affected her, and others, not just by how she sees it has affected me…

❤️

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
10 months ago

Tracy answered your question/point better than I ever could. But how I took her point was that kids can not and should not “carry emotional water” for the betrayed parent. It’s one thing for a kiddo to be appalled at a parent’s affair–on their own behalf. That is, kids on their own can be hurt or angry at the breakup of the family or the betrayed parent’s situation. But today’s LW wants to know if her adult “kids should stay in touch with their father and to what extent.” She wants to weigh in on how they interact with their father. That’s a whole different animal than adults making their own decision on how to conduct a relationship with a disordered parent.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
10 months ago
Reply to  LovedAJackass

Just to add I was close friends with a man whose ex-wife spent years getting their kids to “carry her emotional water.” That created real emotional problems for the kids as both teens and adults.

Lizza Lee
Lizza Lee
10 months ago

Spot on. The kids are adults. Let them handle their own relationship with their father. I think it’s one of the harder things of parenting–recognizing that the kids are adults and it’s time to be hands-off about some things. Now if they ask you for advice, you can certainly help them manage their expectations. Dad is obviously unreliable. Dad has a history of lying. You are not required to be there for your father when he wasn’t there for you. But it’s their call. They are the ones with a shitty dad.

My divorce was horrible with the FW demanding “his time” with the minor children and taking me back to court multiple times over the custody agreement. But then he rarely showed up to pick them up. Having a terrible dad is hard on the kids. If I were you, I’d stay completely out of the relationship.

LovedAJackass
LovedAJackass
10 months ago
Reply to  Lizza Lee

It’s worth noting also that in this case, the kids are not only navigating the divorce of their parents but also learning that their father had a huge secret–he was not the person he pretended to be. That cannot be easy.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
10 months ago
Reply to  Lizza Lee

“FW demanding “his time” with the minor children ”

Lizza, this always made me furious. I hope the courts at least treated these demands the way I’ve heard they do – as completely irrelevant unless it’s for the good of the children.

I had a FW that showed up when he wanted to, helped when it was convenient and was a great father every single time he didn’t have something or someone better to do. I feel that’s so confusing for the kids (he’s fighting for you, but didn’t actually want to see you! now you see him, now you don’t!) and we’re left with the responsibility of excusing and justifying, and comforting the children.

Letgo
Letgo
10 months ago

There was no easy way for a closeted gay man to come out. It is much more open now but his life, and his horrible choices, were formed by his having to keep such powerful secret.
Both of you were victims of a society that felt it had the right to judge others. I hope his issues have lessened as he lives a more authentic life.
I have gay people in my extended family and because we love and accept them they are in stable relationships/marriages.
I am so sorry your life was upended and I hope you have found some peace.

Chumpnomore6
Chumpnomore6
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

I disagree. He didn’t * have* to keep his sexual orientation a ‘powerful secret’. He could have chosen to tell the woman he married under false pretences. As CL says, there’s nothing wrong with being gay, there’s something very wrong with someone who thinks they have a right to keep such a secret from someone they purport to love, and then blow up the family they’ve been part of creating when they think it’s safe to do so. My sympathies are with the OP and the children, not the lying fuckwit.

Daughterofachump
Daughterofachump
10 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Chump Lady, it’s unfortunate that Anna didn’t understand, or didn’t want to believe, that sexual orientation isn’t something that can be changed. I would guess she was brought up to believe otherwise.

I’ve never understood that. As a straight person, there’s no way I could change my orientation. If all men died tomorrow, I’d just have to be celibate!

I understand that there are people who are ace, bisexual, or pansexual, but the vast majority of the population is gay or straight, and that’s just how we are. It’s too bad that so many people still believe otherwise.

Conchobara
Conchobara
10 months ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

I posted above that my MIL was chumped by FW’s dad who came out when FW was in college and admitted to 20 years of affairs with men.

She had years and years of therapy to deal with the abuse from living a lie and being the only one in her marriage who didn’t know (like all Chumps). I don’t give him special dispensation because he was faced with a difficult choice but I have some compassion for why he married her (he wanted a family, to “be normal”). I will never give him a pass for cheating, though. He could’ve left at any time, whether he gave her the real reason or not.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

Letgo, sorry but that is just making excuses. It is not true any more, and the very first people to tell you that will be gay men.

My husband’s parents were wonderful, wonderful people. My MIL’s youngest brother was an early gay activist working for the rights of gay WWII vets. He is buried next to Harvey Milk, and my MIL and FIL were always extremely supportive of him and his partner (he died before same sex marriage was legal). When people presume my FW lived a closeted life because of some imaginary homophobic upbringing, these two wonderful people are being unfairly disparaged.

They no more pressured my husband to defraud me into marriage, than they pressured him to steal money from me. He can damn well take credit for all of it himself.

KatiePig
KatiePig
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

Fuck that and fuck him, he’s not a victim. So over this shit. When i told a gay man what my ex husband did he said “oh, I’d fucking murder my husband if he did that. Don’t kill him Katie, he’s not worth it! But I’d murder mine.” It was a gay male nurse who held my hand while i cried when i got my blood drawn to find out if my ex gave me AIDS or hep c from his high risk sexual activity of getting fucked in the ass by prostitutes.

But straight women?! Any support there?! Big fucking nope. He’s the victim and I’ma bigot for not understanding. So fucking disgusted by that and everybody who thinks like that needs to stay the fuck away from me. It has ONLY been straight people too. Gay people don’t think this shit is ok. Isn’t that surprising?

FooledAgain
FooledAgain
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

How interesting – maybe because they don’t fear being accused of homophobia?

KatiePig
KatiePig
10 months ago
Reply to  FooledAgain

I think they’re just decent human beings. The women who attack chump women and defend their gay or bisexual fuckwits are simple not decent human beings.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

When I was in the shock of discovery, gay men were the only ones who called out the bullshit.

KatiePig
KatiePig
10 months ago
Reply to  walkbymyself

Exactly! That’s how it was for me too. This is not a thing gay men do. This is a thing that ABUSIVE men do, who also happen to be gay.

Godzilla's gone
Godzilla's gone
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

Me, too. The lies…the abnormal pap smears cause if him, the STD that I got when we were first married. He left and I found out after 47 years of abuse and yrauma. My therapist says im now having memories from decades that I had blocked…the trauma causes the brain to close off those horrid memories. Why didn’t I know enough to leave!!! Maybe it was the piwerful cycle if abuse

CryMeARiver
CryMeARiver
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

I’m thinking that if he didn’t want to come out publicly, as being gay, then he could’ve stayed single. But he was ok with deceiving her in a whole marriage with children – it didn’t mean that much to him – I don’t blame society, it’s on him.

susie lee
susie lee
10 months ago
Reply to  CryMeARiver

I agree. You can’t simply steal another persons agency/life/time and claim victim.

Letgo
Letgo
10 months ago
Reply to  CryMeARiver

There was such a stigma that many gay people wanted desperately to be “normal” and hoped marriage would fix them. I know some of these people. They are not monsters. They were not able to be honest. It could get them killed.
He lied. He cheated. Both of those are wrong but he paid the price because his children don’t have relationships with him.
This one today has made me cry. When I think of my relatives who get to be out and live their best lives I mourn for people like your ex. What kind of hell it must be to live a lie this life altering.
I don’t feel I have the right to give an opinion on your kids.

Roaring
Roaring
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

Altho there is always/usually the risk of the Chump getting STDs from cheaters, the known consequences of AIDS , especially among sexually active men in relationships like the one in the letter, could have endangered her and her children, based on their ages.

MichelleShocked
MichelleShocked
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

Letgo, I get your empathy for anyone who had to remain closeted.

But where is your empathy for Anna and the many unknowing “beards” who were lied to? Try looking at it as a form of enslavement. Anna didn’t know her husband was gay. He took 17 years of her life to suit his own needs. She was not privy to this masquerade. Her own health was at risk.

Why are you only crying for him? He lied and cheated and ABUSED Anna just the same.

Marrying an unsuspecting loving woman was not the only option this FW had.

StraightOuttaChumpton
StraightOuttaChumpton
10 months ago

Nope, all the years after 2007 when she found out he was gay was given by her, not taken by him. She knew who he was, she’s just the kind of person who thinks gay is a choice. He shouldn’t have married, she shouldn’t have thought gay can be “fixed,” and he shouldn’t have cheated.

I loathe cheaters. But you know what, if my FW had cheated on me with men because he was gay but afraid to come out, I’d have been devastated just because I would miss what I thought I had with him (the sex part), but I would have let him go with a happy trails and I hope you find a nice man to settle down with. Let’s go watch football sometime.

KatiePig
KatiePig
10 months ago

This is a perfect example of the shit I hate. I’m sure you’d be so happy for him about being lied to and being in a fake marriage for 20 or 30 years. Yeah, right.

Go be somebody’s beard and dedicate your life and vagina and health to this cause if you think it’s so great. Go be an abusive gay man’s beard. Oh, not you? You’re special and deserve a real life? SO DO OTHER WOMEN!

StraightOuttaChumpton
StraightOuttaChumpton
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

Did I miss the part in the letter where he was cheating on her prior to her knowing he was gay? You have a dog in this fight; I don’t, so your feelings on the matter are obviously a lot stronger. I say anything that happened after she found out he was gay in on her. She should have divorced him immediately (without outing him, preferably) and used the next 16 years living her best life instead of hoping a gay man was magically going to stop being gay.

You’re right, I don’t know how I’d feel if I was used as a beard. I honestly don’t know how it could be worse than finding out I was just a really awesome wife appliance with oodles of sexy time to boot.

(I do know I’d feel really fucking stupid not figuring out my hubby was gay after at least 17 years of cohabitation. Wayyyy dumber than I did when I finally figured out he was fucking another woman for just over a year.)

Name Changer
Name Changer
10 months ago
Reply to  Letgo

I distinctly remember a gay soc at university and I graduated in 1982. Granted the North of England is more liberal than the American bible belt but there is no excuse for pretending you are heterosexual when you are gay.

Marianne
Marianne
10 months ago
Reply to  Name Changer

Yeah I came out as a lesbian in 1987. Was it a great time to be gay? No but there certainly were worse times.
I can see maybe getting into a heterosexual marriage thinking you could make yourself straight but by the mid 90s there was a lot of change afoot and that would have been the time to be an adult and be honest and initiate a divorce.

StraightOuttaChumpton
StraightOuttaChumpton
10 months ago
Reply to  Marianne

Are you guys reading the same letter I am? Clearly the OP lives somewhere where people (including the OP) think “gay” can be fixed. I live in a wonderful, liberal bubble where my kids can be any variety of LGBTQIA+ they want to be, openly, without fear. 10 miles northeast of here, they’d be beaten up.

Her FW shouldn’t have gotten married and tried to play it straight, but OP shouldn’t have thought he could be “fixed.” That’s her fuck up, and a big one. Add in all the “immoral” stuff (and I don’t think she was talking about the infidelity) and it’s pretty clear the FW had few options, at home or in his community. Not an excuse for cheating, but one of the better reasons I’ve seen since becoming a chump myself almost a decade ago.

And ask any gay man how he feels about how lesbians are treated vs gay men. Not even in the same realm. Men want to “watch” lesbians. They want to drag gay men behind their cars till they’re dead.

Apidae
Apidae
10 months ago

No, the FW had plenty of options. D-Day was in 2007, not 1957. He had plenty of options for exiting an unhappy marriage that didn’t require him to out himself to bigots, and the LW’s ignorance or disapproval is not an excuse either. This guy – like so many other FWs – just decided he was happier with a wife appliance.

And men want to “watch” lesbians right up until they find out those lesbians don’t look or act like the women in their porn videos. Then they want to rape them and drag them behind their cars until they’re dead.

Stop using homophobia as an excuse for misogynists who also happen to be gay.

RebelXIII
RebelXIII
10 months ago
Reply to  Apidae

Thanks, I was also going to make the point about (straight) men wanting to rape lesbians. I also came out in the late 1980s during my senior year in high school in a small rural town, which I left as soon as I could. There’s no excuse for this guy deceiving someone into a sham marriage. He had lots of choices and is responsible for the ones he made, as is the letter writer.

Conchobara
Conchobara
10 months ago

FW’s dad was a closeted minister. He married my MIL when she was a single mom. They later had FW. When he came out to her when FW was in college she was shocked. Then he turned into the typical narc and went after her. He’d been cheating with men for their entire 20-year marriage, he embezzled money, etc.

I’ve always had complicated feelings about it because, on the one hand, I do understand why he kept it a secret. He wanted a family, and that was not an option for him in the 1970s. He was also from West Virginia. But like any other FW, he had options. He could have left the marriage without cheating. I know that being closeted adds another layer of complication that I will never understand as a cis woman but I maintain that he didn’t have to cheat and steal.

Because of the way it went down the homophobic son and toxic “Christian” daughter didn’t speak to him again for years. Without a doubt, my MIL would have been hurt and upset if he came out and left her to live authentically, but the cheating and putting her health at risk during the AIDS crisis turned out to be what she had a harder time dealing with. She’s a very liberal, compassionate woman.

Gorilla poop
Gorilla poop
10 months ago
Reply to  Conchobara

My FW’s dad is also a closeted minister. He and his wife have tried to make my life miserable. They foreclosed on the marital home the kids and I were living in during COVID and baptized my daughter when I was out of the country.

I refuse to let them take our children abroad without FW present. Each year he asks, and each year I say no, and he tries to paint me as this unreasonable person for depriving our children of the opportunity to expand their minds. Blah blah blah.

So I remind him once again that his parents helped his sister alienate her kid’s affection from the child’s father by keeping that kid overseas, and that his dad solicits sex with strangers on Craigslist, so I don’t trust them.

If FW can’t be bothered to join them on these trips, then too bad.

He gets super annoyed when I say that. He says I’m being homophobic and that his parents have been nothing but loving to our kids. And then he says, they were just ads, his dad never acted on them. Sure, Jan.

I don’t trust my hetero Fetlife FW with our kids either, but I am legally and morally obliged to do so. His parents, however, can fuck off.

Goodfriend
Goodfriend
10 months ago
Reply to  Name Changer

The question isn’t the ease or difficulty of coming out, it’s deliberately deceiving his wife, Anna. Plenty of gay people never marry, rather than deceive a partner. Based on the age of their eldest, they presumably married during the 80s or around 1990 (the height of the American AIDS epidemic.) He deceived her for over 17 years about his orientation. Was he faithful to her that whole time, or was he cheating on her then?

She found out about one AP partner, which doesn't mean there weren't more. And the power imbalance with the AP is breathtaking--more than 20 years younger, barely speaks English, and here illegally. Her ex is a predator, and a major cake-eater.

Anna, he 's not "a pathetic man who has lost so much." He's a creep who stole decades of your life by hiding who he was and what he wanted. Gay or straight is mostly irrelevant, other than that you could never be the gender he wanted. Be glad you got rid of him, and let the consequences with the adult kids play out.

You wrote, “While I hope to keep my distance from him…” What’s stopping you, other than your own ambivalence? He hurt you, and you have a right to be angry.

Laura
Laura
10 months ago

APPLAUSE – Your adult children’s relationship with the father – gay or not – is up to them, not you. Your relationship with him is over, if you choose. That said, give yourself some time to heal. One of my good friends is divorced but still remained friendly when he told her he was gay. He was probably trying to suppress his natural tendency when you got married. But not living your authentic self is worse. He and his ex are great friends. Nothing about my friend’s character and personality changed, just who he really was attracted to. There is a big difference between being a cheater and playing games and it is another when a partner can’t lie to themselves let alone you about who they really are.
My ex- is a heterosexual male who had a lack of character and was a lying cheater. My son’s are well aware of this, but they still love him, but they don’t trust him. They have kind of a relationship with him, but I dont and I stay out of it completely. Not my dog anymore, not my fight.
Also your young children don’t need to be protected from a gay father. Regardless of his sexual orientation – he is still his father and until he proves not to be a safe person to be around. Statistics will show you that more people who claim to be heterosexual are more likely to molest children.

Nut Cluster Free Zone
Nut Cluster Free Zone
10 months ago
Reply to  Laura

“Statistics will show you that more people who claim to be heterosexual are more likely to molest children” Correct.

Two examples in my life. I learned purely by accident that a second cousin I met only once was arrested, tried yet not convicted of molesting an eleven year old friend of his son’s. Creepy Cousin is married, an attorney and has two now adult children. We had a family gathering years ago and I took photos of CC and his then young son. I couldn’t remember where his wife and baby daughter were and why they weren’t in any of the photos so I did an internet search. His name and the sordid details popped up. He now lives in Portugal.

Second example. When I was a toddler, my parents asked a couple from church over for drinks and dinner. The following day, I found Bob’s wallet in the sofa’s cushions and gave it to my mother. She was horrified to find photos of naked prepubescent boys with erections in the billfold. Bob is a chickenhawk but still married to his wife, three daughters and is now a great-grandfather.

I have to go throw up now.

Nut Cluster Free Zone
Nut Cluster Free Zone
10 months ago

Bob and his “membership” in NAMBLA took place decades ago. Now he has the internet at his fingertips.

Emily
Emily
10 months ago

Issues involving the kids are so difficult. My ex left the US to join his “true family,” that is, his affair partner and her four (!) young kids. He told me that his girlfriend was considerably younger, prettier, more glamorous and much, much richer than I was. All true.

He also said that her kids were smarter, more talented, better behaved, more lovable and more interesting than our own two young children. He told me that biological ties were not what made a family; love made a family. Therefore, because he didn’t love his biological children, they were no longer his family.

He hasn’t had any contact with our kids for years. And certainly doesn’t pay any child support.

Everyone says my ex is an awful person, but I kind of understand his point of view. Doesn’t he have a right to choose who is part of his family? Why should he be bound to kids he no longer cares about?

Daughterofachump
Daughterofachump
9 months ago
Reply to  Emily

He still should pay child support. If he chooses not to see his children, his loss.

Chumpkins
Chumpkins
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

What a horrible thing Emily’s Ex said about their children! Typical (& horrific) cheater justification!

Orlando
Orlando
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Emily: your ex has mindfucked you into thinking (even a little bit) this way because it benefits him & absolves him (so he thinks anyway) of any responsibility or guilt. He’s one of the biggest creeps I’ve ever heard of! Yuck!!! 🤮 All of you are well rid of him…but he does have to support the kids still because he was 1/2 responsible for their existence!

Apidae
Apidae
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Your poor children. Their dad abandons them and their mom’s reaction is “Yeah, seems about right.”

CBN
CBN
10 months ago
Reply to  Apidae

The poster’s comments, “I kind of understand his point of view (and the lines that follow)” were so out of left field that I thought maybe they were a joke?

If there are minor children involved, you can certainly choose not to have anything to do with them, which is disgusting but legal, but you can’t legally sidestep the duty to support them.

Geode
Geode
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

Sounds like an excuse not to pay child support. If he made them he has an obligation to care for them regardless of how little he claims to love them. That’s THE LAW. He also has an obligation NOT to hurt them by abandoning them.

Daughterofachump
Daughterofachump
9 months ago
Reply to  Geode

I’d guess that may be part of the reason he moved overseas. It can be difficult enough collecting child support if someone moves out of state. Internationally? I have no clue, but I assume it’s nearly impossible.

SortOfOverIt
SortOfOverIt
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

“Doesn’t he have a right to choose who is part of his family? ”

Emily,
If we were talking about all adults, yes. Lots of grown people cut off a toxic parent/sibling/cousin etc. And that is fine. But a father who has young children that he just decides he no longer wants to be a parent to them? That is a disgusting person. They are children!
That said, if my stbx didn’t want anything to do with our kid, I wouldn’t want to force the relationship because exposing a kid to that can’t be good. But just because I agree with that it wouldn’t change the fact that a father that decides he likes his AP kids better than his own because they are better behaved, more lovable and more talented is a really horrible person.

Erin
Erin
10 months ago
Reply to  Emily

I hope he needs a kidney some day!

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
10 months ago

Like most of CN, I applaud CL’s response.

The issue of children’s relationship with the FW is a sensitive one for me. My adult kids cut ties completely as soon as he revealed his affair (D-Day), but they told me that they did so not solely because of the affair but because of his emotional abuse of all of us over the years. I have made it clear to them that their relationship with him (or lack thereof) is their business, not mine.

That said, they’ve told me that they have had no contact with him since D-Day (3 1/2 years ago). There are two grandchildren now. He last saw the older when when she was an infant. He’s never met the younger.

He married the AP and moved across country, so there’s fortunately no risk of bumping into him. But recently he wrote to the kids to say that he’ll be in town this month and wants to get together. They said that they won’t even respond to his email. I try not to react with any emotion when they tell me these things.

And yet I am happy that they have no contact with him, which sometimes makes me wonder about my own character. I mean, maybe I AM the vindictive bitch that my ex says I am, or maybe, as CL points out, I’m simply human.

SecondSelf
SecondSelf
10 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

I’ve thought about this before. I’ve never celebrated someone’s failures or problems like I have my ex’s. Does it make me a bad person? I never feel vindictive or angry toward really anyone else. I’ve concluded that my main motivation in wishing my ex would fail is that I really want my kids and my social circle to see what a jackas he is, how it was me that was holding the family together and getting everything done, and how he’s not a nice person at all even though he pretends to be. I basically want the mask to fall off and for everyone to see the truth. I don’t think that makes me a btch. And it doesn’t make you one either. You just want the truth to shine through.

M1
M1
10 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

He wasn’t a safe person to be around for their childhoods and he’s shown no discernible change, so of course you’d be nervous if they saw him, Spinach. He damaged them and they’d be opening themselves up to more of the same and you’re supposed to think – well, what exactly? Cheer them on? Say, “oh well, a lifetime of abuse but it’ll probably be ok now”? You’re not displaying a character fault, you’re being a realist who’s looking out for her loved ones.

Adelante
Adelante
10 months ago
Reply to  Spinach@35

No doubt in my mind: you’re human.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
10 months ago
Reply to  Adelante

😊 🙏

damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
damnitfeelsbadtobeachumpster
10 months ago

“just stay out of it.” five words that are difficult to achieve when it comes to an X. but he’s got to sort out what his relationship is with his kids.

i try zoning out when my adult kids inadvertently talk about my X. it’s hard because we live together–if we didn’t all live together i wouldn’t hear a word about my X and that would be A GOOD THING.

the other day, my daughter was on speaker phone with her dad and i was absentmindedly doing the laundry nearby, and heard his voice. it was kinda traumatizing. this surprised me. i think it was because i was caught unaware? #PTSD

Lizza Lee
Lizza Lee
10 months ago

PTSD is the pits. I think I’m completely over it/him, but then I get the same flight or fight reaction when I see/hear him. It’s been years and years, but I still have the occasionally nightmare about the X.

Conchobara
Conchobara
10 months ago
Reply to  Lizza Lee

Mine is still very actively going on. He won’t leave the house because he’s on the title and he’s emotionally abusive. We had our first settlement conference Friday and it was contentious and abusive from the start (his lawyer is obviously a narc and a bully). Ever since I saw in black & white how he has literally decided he doesn’t care if I live or die my PTSD is back in full force (it was a bit latent). I had two panic attacks on Sunday knowing that he was coming back to my house Monday after a long weekend with his child mistress. I was tired of feeling trapped in 100 sq. ft. of my home but now I don’t even feel safe. I installed a lock on my bedroom door and was able to sleep last night.

Motherchumper99
Motherchumper99
10 months ago

Agree 100%. Stay out if it. I also have 4 kids – the youngest just turned 18. I raised her solo after Dday 9 years ago. My grown kids have differing interactions with their dad. It has changed over time as X and AP devolve… the drugs and alcohol and chaos are having a terrible effect on X. I keep in my lane. When they tell me things, I’m “cool” “bummer” “wow.” When I see him I’m neutral. I don’t say much if anything. I never look in his shark eyes….

Adelante
Adelante
10 months ago

I concur. Stay out of your children’s relationships with their father, whatever stance they take.

I also get your mixed feelings . My ex was closeted, although there was nothing closeted about his parading in front of me his crushes and emotional affairs (I have evidence only of those). He’s still closeted, which means our son, who was an adult at the time I left, doesn’t know the reason we divorced, other that what I told him, which was “your father has a secret life, and if you want to know what it is, you can ask him, although I already know he won’t tell you because he told me so. I will tell you if you want to know.” Our son chose not to know; I have honored his wishes. Full stop.

Does this decision of mine to honor his wishes cause me pain? Yes. I would like to have an honest relationship with our son. I would like his father to have an honest relationship with our son. I would like our son to know the truth, because I think it explains some family dynamics he has commented on. I would like to get out of my ex’s closet once and for all and completely, and I would like to stop enabling his dishonest relationship with our son. But I gave my son a choice; he chose; I honor his choice. He knows what he knows, and he knows he can know more if he wishes. In the meantime, his relationship with and thoughts about his father are his to negotiate. As are your children’s. Stay out of it.

ChumpedForANewerModel
ChumpedForANewerModel
10 months ago

Agree with CL on this. My son is an adult, and he can choose whether he wants a relationship with his FW father. He has chosen not to have a relationship. That is his choice, and I did not influence it. FWs will blame you regardless as Ex does. Not your problem. Let your ADULT children determine whether they want contact with your Ex.
FWs do not seem to understand that their bad behavior impacts everyone. I know for certain that mine loves to blame me for everything which is typical and is in the Cheater’s Handbook somewhere. If I had all the super powers that FW seems to believe I have, I would probably be the Empress of a Solar System.

Spinach@35
Spinach@35
10 months ago

“FWs will blame you regardless as Ex does”

Ain’t that the truth!

Apparently my super powers extend to his side of the family as well because his own siblings’ kids have invited me to their weddings and not him, which even I think is odd but, hey, I’m happy I’m still in their lives. I love them.

I’m sure he spins a Spinach-blaming tale and sad-sack story to explain all this.

I do wonder if all these excuses are wearing thin on the AP-now-wife who must be seeing his true colors by now. Frankly, now that the honeymoon phase of their affair and marriage are over, he probably blames her for all sorts of stuff. That’s how he rolls.

#notagbacks

Leftbehindlily
Leftbehindlily
10 months ago

I sincerely feel that there is nothing more disgusting than a homosexual choosing a heterosexual spouse with whom to breed a family. (Sort of like Charles choosing Diana as a virgin breeding vessel for the crown.) That is a level of deception and abuse that is heartbreaking and mind boggling. Think of it: there you are, in your white dress or your tuxedo, waiting with love in your heart to marry a monster who wishes only to use you as a spouse appliance, a beard, and an inseminator/incubator. Absolutely vile!

susie lee
susie lee
10 months ago
Reply to  Leftbehindlily

“Think of it: there you are, in your white dress or your tuxedo, waiting with love in your heart to marry a monster who wishes only to use you as a spouse appliance, a beard, and an inseminator/incubator. Absolutely vile!”

I agree, but it is not limited to gays, or Kings. I believe that was a large part of why my ex chose me. No experience, easy to manipulate and lie to etc. Then he of course lived his double life as he saw fit. I unwittingly helped him hide it, while I helped him build his career.

Had I known he was living a double life, I would have in no way helped him in the community and in politics.

Now I.C.
Now I.C.
10 months ago

This is the correct advice.

Spoiler alert– even if you do exactly what CL says your ex will still blame any decision your adult children make on your obvious poisoning of them. Narcs never believe that their children, even adults, have agency to reject them and it clearly is just your bitter, vindictive hand playing puppet master.

Prepare for this and do not argue the point with him (don’t even discuss it) because you will be the punching bag that he can point to and play a pitiful woe-is-me game of how you are such a homophobic meanie and he didn’t do anything wrong. His friends and family will agree because they are shit, too.

Do not engage even to defend yourself, you have already lost this battle so stay off the field.

Claire
Claire
10 months ago

My children were all adults when the FW detonated our family. Initially I couldn’t think about my children navigating this, was spending time on the floor as a hot sobbing mess! They, however, rallied round ‘me’, gave me love, tenderness and understanding. I will be forever grateful to them that when I was (for want of a better word) weak, they were incredibly strong. As time passed (just shy of 3 years now since separation) I knew FW wouldn’t be able to manage his relationship with them. I was a good spackler! True to what I thought he blew up his relationship with middle daughter early on because he’s such a demanding wanker…. She saw through his bullshit and said ENOUGH. He has never sincerely tried to right his wrong with her. Youngest daughter gets married this year. I’m giving her away. FW is not invited even though she sees him occasionally. Her words to me after telling him that he was not invited ‘yeah mum he didn’t care’…….. He. Did. Not. Care. How sad that I picked this poor excuse to breed with, don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with that or forgive myself! My son does see him but again occasionally but we do not speak about FW. It’s the unsaid rule. FW is not part of my life. Their relationship with him is theirs to own. Do I feel sad that they have a sorry excuse for a father….. Hell yes!

But they’ve got the most motherfuckingawesomemumma EVER! I know they feel this way about me because they show me. I’m very proud of them all. ❤️

NoMoreMsNiceChump
NoMoreMsNiceChump
10 months ago

I have a friend who’s a gay man. His parents don’t know, wouldn’t approve if they did know, and are from a culture that encourages arranged marriages. It would be so easy for my friend to just go with the flow and accept a bride his parents select for him. He doesn’t do that because he has a conscience and thinks it’s wrong to deceive an innocent woman while robbing her of an authentic relationship. At the same time, younger gays like my friend do have more options available to them than the older generation did. There are now many heterosexuals choosing to remain single, so staying single no longer necessarily outs you, and gays today are less likely to be beaten up for it.

walkbymyself
walkbymyself
10 months ago

This is a timely column for me right now. I’m babysitting my grandpuppy while my daughter vacations with her father, who stole my past (by deceiving me about his orientation) and stole my future (by stealing marital funds and secreting them away for 24 years in the off-chance he got busted).

No doubt about it, it really sucks. CL’s response is exactly right here, though: you neither encourage nor discourage your children. You support them from a distance in whatever they decide. In my case, that involves taking the puppy for a week.

And, remember this much: you put a lot of sweat equity into those kids. Whatever credibility you’ve built up with them — keep it close. Don’t squander it trying to do your ex some big favor with the kids. Daddy’s just gonna have to learn how to take his punches.

CBN
CBN
10 months ago
Reply to  walkbymyself

I I suppose it depends upon the relationship that the chump has with the FW, but in my case, if my adult son didn’t hire a dog sitter or take an Uber to the airport for a vacation with his father, I would be beyond hurt, as I have made it very clear to my son that I do not want anything to do with his father ever again, that I will never speak to him again, and that I am still triggered by the mention of his name or his circumstances, plans, etc. It would be no different to me than any other person who has hurt me that my son might want to hang out with (although I can’t think of anyone else). That’s fine with me if you want to hang out with that person, especially your own father, but don’t ask me to help facilitate it. For me, it would be disrespectful for my son to ask that of me.

Elsie
Elsie
10 months ago

I agreed. You do NOTHING but get out of the way. Not that you condone what happened, but you stay in your lane with your adult children. You focus on YOUR relationship with them and let their relationship with their father fall as it may.

My kids were 17 1/2 and 19 when my ex left. I was a mess at first about how this would work, but I quit trying to make excuses for their father a few months in and told them that it was between them and their father whether to communicate, visit, etc. I didn’t share my junk with them, either. The reality is that they did NOT want to talk about him and were barely talking to me as it was, so I was reasonable and figured that I needed to give it time.

I told him of my approach, which set off fireworks on the other side of the phone. Both were commuting to college and away most of the day with school/work, and it wasn’t exactly as if I could control their phones/email. He ACTUALLY said that I should stop feeding them and maybe kick them out of the house for not communicating with him, which was utterly absurd. I didn’t commit to that, which set off more fireworks about what a horrible wife I was.

He chose to be busy with whomever/whatever and barely communicated with them for a year. They gave up on him entirely and went no contact when I did that during the divorce. I came home from an attorney appointment and explained that, figuring he might rage via email with them. They joined me and have remained so. I interacted with him via email during closeout but haven’t initiated any contact since. He periodically reappears via email with me and continues to send cards/checks to the adult children at times, but those avenues seem to have dropped off. I don’t provide any personal details in my emails, and the kids cash the checks but never respond. My youngest always says, “Well, Dad helped pay for my therapy again.” Both are working professionals with their own lives now.

Yes, it’s sad, but he shattered marriage/family, leaving me to do the best I could with the pieces. My job is to be the best mom of young adults that I can be.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago

Oh boy. It’s an awful story, but there are some alarming statements from the chump as well.

“I stayed in the marriage, hoping he would change”

This indicates she believes sexual orientation is a choice, a POV held by
homophobes. Surely she knows this.

“he was 20+ years younger than my ex and an illegal who barely spoke any English”

Referring to people who have immigrated unlawfully as “illegals” is a sneering insult racists use. It’s intended to dehumanize them. Mind you, I can’t be sure she’s aware of that, so it may not be intended that way. Perhaps she heard it somewhere (my guess would be FOX News) without realizing the significance.

Anna
Anna
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Sorry that some of you lacked the insight to make the connection….
No, I’m not racist. Omitting this important fact would fail to shed light on a key dimension of my ex’s personality. He chooses men who are vulnerable and at a disadvantage in our society. He’s a bonafide narcissist who thrives on manipulation and control. He’ll keep them until it suits him and then discards them like yesterday’s newspaper. A clean break… or a dial-up to ICE will fix things. Then on to the next unsuspecting victim who thinks he’s been touched by an angel.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  Anna

It’s impossible to have insight into your intentions when all we have to go in is what you said in one short letter, Anna. You used a loaded word and you did not explain the situation with FW taking advantage of vulnerable people in that letter. I did think that was probably the case, though.

Anna
Anna
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Not a racist comment, but just an important fact that highlights my ex’s controlling personality. He seeks men that elevate his ego and that he can easily manipulate and discard as needed. If necessary, ICE is just a phone call away. And then on to his next victim…

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  Anna

Thank you for that, Anna. I thought that was probably the case, but I wanted to be sure. There was nothing personal intended.
Your ex is scum.

Principled Life
Principled Life
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

This feels like piling on the chump to me, calling her a homophobe and sneering racist. Probably the FW tried to lie his way out of his sexuality, and said he was confused or possibly bisexual or whatever, and she hoped he would change and become an honest man or someone with character. Just like most of us hoped our husbands/wives would change. That’s hopium, not homophobia.

And the AP was in the country illegally, was much younger and barely spoke English. These sound like facts of her situation, not evidence of racism.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago

PL, I was not saying she is a racist. I said the pejorative term she used is employed by racists. I also said she might not know that.
It is nor merely descriptive to describe a human being as am “illegal.” If she isn’t racist and just didn’t know the signgivim, maybe she learned something.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Typos; not, significance.

UpAndOut
UpAndOut
10 months ago

I read the OP statement of “the AP was in the country illegally, was much younger and barely spoke English” evidence of the sliminess of the cheater- that he would take advantage of someone already incredibly scared and vulnerable, and unable to fully advocate for himself due to a language barrier.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  UpAndOut

Yes, that very well could be what she meant, UAO. The chump might not be aware of the significance of that particular term. The creepy FW is obviously taking advantage of somebody in a vulnerable position.

KatiePig
KatiePig
10 months ago

This is typical if you’re a woman and it’s discovered that yourcheating husband also screwed men. There’s a rather large percentage of people who at that point will dissect every reaction you have and call you all kinds of insulting names. It’s a horrible experience but it’s completely typical. Any thing you say will get used as proof that you’re a bad person and deserved it. Every feeling we have is wrong. Energy reaction we have is wrong. The evil cunts talk about how they wouldn’t mind at all if they were us or how we were stupid for not knowing anyways. It’s completely typical and it’s fucked up.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

It’s interesting how irrational people are being about nothing. I was quite circumspect with my concerns about this post, did not call names, and gave the chump the benefit of the doubt. I was bothered by this post only because the combination of what is known as racist language with the “gay people can change” idea makes me wonder what’s going on. It could indicate an unsettling pattern, or it could just be that the chump does not know what it signifies or how that looks. I said the language is employed by bigots, but the chump might not be aware of that. Yet some people reacted as if I’d ripped the chump a new one and proceeded to try to do that to me in turn.
Yeah, good luck with that. Have we met? 🙄

Traffic_Spiral
Traffic_Spiral
10 months ago

Also, the “probably heard it on Fox News” is complete revisionist virtue-signalling. Although I understand why we are moving away from the word now, the fact remains that it was the generally accepted term in the past, not some newly thought up nonsense you’d only know if you’d been watching fox recently.

There’s a difference between acknowledging that norms and word-usages change, and having performative amnesia after every change, where you act like the new norm has always existed.

Plus, it’s one thing to think sexual orientations can generally change, and quite another to believe your spouse when they assure you that they in particular will change.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  Traffic_Spiral

Nope, Traffic Spiral. That’s not even remotely true. It was never generally accepted to refer to a human being as “an illegal.” “An Illegal immigrant” has always been acceptable amd still is. If “an illegal” was accepted in your circle, your circle is full of bigots. I hesitate to call it a racist dog whistle, but only because it’s not subtle enough to be a dog whistle of any kind. I have sixty years of history in my year view. I didn’t live it around the same sort of people you have, apparently. Maybe you need new friends. Whatever the reason, you are the one doing the revising here.

Believing sexual orientation can change is ridiculous no matter why you believe that. That is one lie fuckwits cannot tell with any plausibility. The creepy FW in this case is probably very manipulative, but can he convince his spouse he can spout wings and fly, too?

KADawn
KADawn
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

thank you; was coming here to say no human being is “illegal.” I have sympathy for this chump, but it’s tempered by her obvious lack of empathy for millions of other human beings. Illegal is an adjective, not a noun (well, dictionary.com also says derogatory noun).

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  KADawn

Well said, KAD.
Being an adjective makes it more dehumanizing, like they are talking about an object rather than a human being.
It’s definitely used as a derogatory noun in bigot slang.

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

In addition, people “who barely speak English” often speak at least one more language than you or I.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  IcanseeTuesday

Yes ICST, I didn’t like that either. Neither his immigration status or native language has anything to do with what FW did to her, so why mention it in such a derogatory way. I get that we love to drag APs, but this one sounds like he may have been preyed on by the FW, and there is a limit as to what is fair game to insult an AP for.

Ugh. I hate it when I have to doubt a chump.

StraightOuttaChumpton
StraightOuttaChumpton
10 months ago
Reply to  OHFFS

Yup, thought the exact same thing about those lines. Think there may have been a really good reason FW didn’t come out earlier. We are also only getting one side of the story here. For all we know, when OP found out FW was gay, she “convinced” him into staying: “If you divorce me” (to our knowledge, no cheating had happened at this time) “I’ll just HAVE to tell everyone” (in whatever homophobic hell-hole they live in) “WHY you’re leaving me.”

I don’t like doubting a chump either, but those words spoke volumes, and chumps can still be garbage people. Being a chump (in this case, IMHO, willingly and knowingly) doesn’t suddenly grant sainthood.

susie lee
susie lee
10 months ago

I was so glad my son was grown when Dday hit. Also, I had moved out of the community we lived in.

I just stayed out of it, until my son told me about the issues, then I would advise him if he asked. FW’s for the most part stay FW’s, and they don’t contain it to the spouse, it spreads to the kids and the community.

My ex passed a couple years ago, my son and his wife have not spoken to the wife/whore since his dads passing. My son provided her with all the contacts and info she needed to get access to anything she was entitled to. He didn’t have to do this, as he was not executor, in fact there was no will, or anything left. She did have a few small pockets of money from VA that he gave her the POCs for. About a year later he sent her some info he found about about five thousand dollars that she could get from VA. Other than that radio silence.

Had she not gone along with fw, in lying to and about his family, not to mention verbally and trying to financially abuse them, he likely would have checked up on her once in a while.

IcanseeTuesday
IcanseeTuesday
10 months ago

Anna – You’ve only been living on your own since March? Remained in the marriage for decades after you knew the truth about your ex-husband?

I’m guessing that he offered you and your children some benefits. Is it possible that he was/is a loving father?

His relationships with the adult children are apt to be complicated and evolving. Your focus should be on gaining your new life. It’s still early days for you.

Principled Life
Principled Life
10 months ago

This is perfect advice. I love the little interest-charging son!

portia
portia
10 months ago

I don’t know when a child realizes sexual orientation. I have gay friends who tell me they figured out they were gay at different times in their life. I don’t know about trans-gender either. I do know about prejudice, and moral judging, and minding other people’s personal business. I believe it is much easier now than it used to be to declare your orientation, but it still has to be incredibly hard to do. I never had to stand up and tell my nearest and dearest that I was a heterosexual woman, or when I knew. I did have to keep quiet about my beliefs and activities, and opinions until I was old enough to support myself. So, I agree the problem here is not that your ex is gay, but about his lying and inability to deal with his true preference. You had 4 children, evidence he had some interest in you sexually, and that would be confusing to anyone. The problem is he lied, he endangered your health, and he was a bad marriage partner.

My sons were 9 and 12 when I finally divorced their dad. I had to control my human impulses to trash their dad, especially when he was playing Disney dad and I was struggling to pay bills. But you are past that, your children are adults. They can, and will, make their own decisions. You were the stable, sane parent when it mattered the most. They will figure that out eventually, if they haven’t already. They probably also knew things about their dad you didn’t know or couldn’t see at the time. I was amazed at how much my kids had figured out. As my sons matured, their evaluation process matured, and their attitudes changed. Their dad died almost 2 years ago. I had to stay out of their grief, if they wanted to talk, I listened. I understand the urge to love your parent is powerful, no matter what. I struggled for years with loving my parents the way I thought I should, as opposed to how I actually felt. Sometimes when my sons were growing up, I struggled with how I could still love them so much, when I wanted to throttle them at the moment. Two opposing thoughts can exist at the same time.

You are not responsible for the way other people think or behave. You are only responsible for you. You already influenced your children when they were growing up. For better or worse, let them be. If they are adults, trust them to make decisions without your influence. Undoubtably, some will be good, some bad. When you made decisions, as an adult, did you blame or praise or even consult your parents? Remember that song, “sometimes the greatest gifts are unanswered prayers”? Sometimes the greatest gift you can give your children is silence. The ability to navigate life without your presence is the end game of good parenting.

❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
❤️ Velvet Hammer ❤️
10 months ago

Deception is deception is deception.

No group of people has cornered the market of holding someone hostage in a relationship by depriving their partner of the truth and facts necessary for informed consent.

I moved to San Francisco in 1975. I was twelve and it was my first exposure in life to openly gay people. It’s a region of the world famous for a long history of openness and acceptance of our LGBTQ+ community. People have specifically visited here and moved here for that reason for decades. And even here, even now, there are people who masquerade as straight, get married, have children, and keep their true sexual orientation a secret from their straight spouses and conduct secret sexual double lives. So I am not inclined to believe that social stigma around sexual orientation is a cause of or excuse for cheating.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
10 months ago

Slight digression– I’ve noticed a tendency of cheater apologists– regardless of whether or not they’re white, straight, middle to upper class, etc.– to grub legitimacy by using a sort of “minority shield.” But as much as these arguments might seem politically charged, they’re typically just expressions of disordered thinking and personal issues which can affect anyone regardless of orientation. I sometimes hear arguments like the following which, at the very least, are guilty of shoddy logic:

“Well, it’s okay that s/he cheated because s/he’s gay and they were forced” to live a double life.”

Is that really true outside countries that criminally punish and persecute LGBT? And even then, wouldn’t it be better to marry an LGBT person of the opposite sex to put up a cooperative protective facade? If there’s any way for someone not to light another person on fire to keep themselves warm, isn’t that preferable?

Or

“It’s okay for hookers to take marital assets from married clients because sex workers are an embattled underclass and yada yada liberating to use their bodies as they choose…” Never mind if the victims of this are also minorities or poor or disenfranchised or that robbing consent from other people is always ungroovy and contrary to social justice no matter who does it or who the victims are, not to mention grossly unfeminist if the betrayed and embezzled parties happen to be women. As far as it being always groovy and liberated for women to use their bodies as they choose, as much as I hate Oliver Wendell Holmes’ eugenicist rulings, his quote on relative freedom is apt: “The right to swing my fist ends where another man’s nose begins.”

Yet I heard a self-proclaimed feminist lesbian (very white, raised middle class) who attended the last Zapatista Indigenous Women’s Summit in Chiapas before the pandemic complain bitterly about how the Zapatista women organizers barred sex workers from speaking at the summit. When I (also very white, raised middle class and not LGBT) brought up the point that the local sex workers in Chiapas generally service the Mexican military troops who were sent to suppress the Zapatista labor and indigenous land rights movement (ergo making troops more cozy in their role of occupying and suppressing), sometimes act as informants and also frequently peddle to married Zapatista men who pay with scant marital assets while their Zapatista wives work 20 hours a day to support families. Another thing to consider is that there’s a history of authoritarian regimes using sex workers to spread STDs to the political resistance. So, no, the Zapatista women didn’t allow what are essentially Vichy sex workers to speak. I’m sure it would have been different if the sex workers were speaking out on the violence and exploitation they endured instead of basically defending and promoting their profession.

The self-proclaimed feminist didn’t believe what I was saying until I dug up the documented history and research, then she just mumbled something about how monogamy was a blight and a manufactured construct. And I, of course, suggested that men who pay for hookers without the consent of their wives were embezzling and enforcing one-sided monogamy and what was stopping them from separating and living a sex pozzy poly life on their own? She said that these men can’t because the social norm demands they be married (among Zapatistas who so often defy social norms?) and that these men can’t afford divorce (so why are they blowing money on hookers?). I said that if the social norms demand it, then– due to reigning gender inequality that goes with patriarchal norms– their wives were under a far bigger gun to remain married to men who steal from them (therefore further disabling these women’s ability to divorce), betray them and expose them to potentially deadly disease.

Like someone on this page put it, the cheating apologia arguments all fall apart the second the issue of consent is brought up. The conversation devolved from there and I realized that when people make these arguments– especially when the arguments contradict their stated political beliefs– again the position typically isn’t even political but just a garbled expression of personal problems and disorders. Whenever I hear people making absurdly illogical arguments like this, my inner misanthropologist gets really curious about their backgrounds and FOO issues so I pried. True to form, the individual arguing the other side turned out to be a mess of contradictions who, despite having every educational opportunity growing up, remained financially dependent as an adult on both parents, including the father who abandoned the family for some side piece when she was 8 years old. She also seemed very emotionally dependent on her dad’s approval and seemed to reserve most of her scattershot resentment for her victimized mother as if she’d internalized her father’s abusive contempt towards her mother and, in a not-very-indirect sense, was siding with abusers. She also turned out to be casually pimping for a escort friend to supplement her own income and argued that, because the friend has a child with a serious disability, taking money from married clients was somehow justified (never mind if the clients’ own children were also disabled). She was also unable to maintain stable romantic relationships of her own through all of her adult life and tended to pursue heterosexual dabblers who were using her for some purpose (like the local hooker friend) and where there was no hope of long term relationships. In the end, I couldn’t detect much cohesive “feminism” or egalitarianism or logic in the way this woman lives or her views.

Considering the source of garbage arguments can be a pretty depressing or scary exercise most of the time but it at least clarifies things.

portia
portia
10 months ago

I have been interested in the twisted reasoning of the young Fans Only Girls, as reported to me by my sons and their friends. Evidently, they talk openly about their “extra” income, and see no conflict of interest or moral pitfalls with what they do. They will complain about not being able to find a decent man to date, but if someone asks them if they think it might be due to being a Fans Only Girl, they attack them as being anti-feminist.
One was complaining that her stepfather had applied to see her Fans page, and yet, she accepted his money and just says he’s a perv. Seriously. Just him.

So, I suppose it depends on which side of the dollar you have! If you are making money, or receiving gratification, sex workers are fine and dandy. If you are secretly being stolen from, or are being forced into servitude, it’s not so fine or dandy. I wonder how these girls will feel, years later. Or if they do have female children, will they teach them to be a good fans girl? I just cannot understand how they feel this work is part of the feminist outlook. I understand most of them are young, and they may need more money than their day job pays, but how can they not see it is prostitution even if you don’t touch. How would they feel if their boyfriend or husband was someone else’s fan? How about if their father, brother, uncle wants to watch? Are there boundaries here? Does money make everything palatable?

If someone chooses to do this work, will they ever stop? I am trying to understand the reasoning, and I just cannot. Maybe someone can stop being a cheater. Maybe a Fans Girl will stop because she wants to. Maybe a cheater or Fans Girl will have an epiphany and go on to do great things in life? I’m just wondering what the odds would be of that happening? Same problem I have with cheating being glorious joyous rebellion, or no one is hurt if no one knows. I am normally not a pessimist, but I see harm on all sides here.

Your observation enforces the saying that if you don’t know history you are doomed to repeat it. I, too, was raised as a white middle class girl who was largely clueless about this type of history, or even what prostitution really was. I was able to catch on to what an imbalance of power was, however. Maybe that is what saved me from this type of thinking.

StraightOuttaChumpton
StraightOuttaChumpton
10 months ago
Reply to  portia

I don’t know, either. I do know an acquaintance of mine was a stripper for a few years. One weekend paid her rent, another weekend, all the other bills including the payment on her brand new jeep. Also paid for her to go to college. She graduated from a very difficult and competitive program, got married, has a baby. No debts, no regrets. Hell, I considered doing the same thing briefly while I was struggling to pay for school. A lot of people in this world use and sacrifice their bodies for money… why is being cannon-fodder for the military-industrial complex, or getting mesothelioma working for billionaires any more or less respectable than getting nekid? I do think that sex workers are NOT responsible for the decisions their slimy, weak, barely-sentient-animal clients make, though. A fool and his/her money….

Daughterofachump
Daughterofachump
9 months ago

StraightOuttaChumpton, sadly, this is an accessible way for women to make a lot of money without expensive education. Note, I didn’t say it was an easy way.

It’s also very risky in that you work as an independent contractor. So, if you’re injured or killed while working, worker’s compensation doesn’t apply to you.

Nut Cluster Free Zone
Nut Cluster Free Zone
10 months ago

This seems to becoming more normalized given the prohibitive cost of higher education. If one doesn’t have parents or grandparents to foot the tuition, room and board, one can expect to take out loans that will take years to pay off.

Zip
Zip
10 months ago

« I chose the jerk. I bred with the jerk. I own my terrible choices. »
Just need to say that not everyone needs to share this self blame. Maybe CL shouldn’t either? If I got in a car with a seemingly safe driver and crappy driver drove it off a cliff, I wouldn’t blame myself.
We can’t always predict what’s down the pipeline.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
10 months ago
Reply to  Zip

I have to agree. Even FBI behavioral experts can’t spot liars with any more probability than a coin toss. And I think it’s discounting all the ways abusers weave subtle webs of coercion and control around their prey from the get-go to hold victims overly accountable for ignoring red flags. By the time anyone sees the flags, they’ve usually been caught in a snare that makes the risk of escape increasingly daunting. If victims’ sense of sunk costs and wishful thinking were enough on their own to ensure victims hung around, predators wouldn’t resort to coercion and control and entrap to begin with.

Until the day seventh graders are routinely trained to spot coercive tactics and messaging, we’re all pretty much sitting ducks. We’re only in the early stages of social recognition of cheating as part of abuse and coercive control. Other things that would likely reduce every type of relational abuse by reducing the power of abusers to entrap: legislating and enforcing coercive control statutes. Free or affordable universal child care and education to the PhD level (like Finland).

susie lee
susie lee
10 months ago
Reply to  Zip

Yep, I chose a seemingly sweet 18 year old who was seemingly in love with me, and I believed him, as I was certainly crazy about him.

Not my failure, I kept my vows, and devoted most of my energy supporting his dreams, because I loved him and also he assured me we were building our life together and we would both benefit.

KatiePig
KatiePig
10 months ago

I can’t believe that even here we have the gay cheater defenders. I didn’t expect that. Why are so many straight women so obsessed with gay men that they will support them abusing women? Decent gay men absolutely do not support that. Fucking gross. It’s shameful. Some of you want to give men like my ex a pass because they also screwed men… then you are just as evil as he is. I cut out literal blood family over this shit, you people are nothing compared to that.

Orlando
Orlando
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

I’m not impressed with any of this apologist stuff either. If the Fuckwit wanted to marry a straight woman, he could of -at the very minimum- not fucked anyone until he divorced. Period. But of course he didn’t…because he’s just another fuckwit, gay or not.

susie lee
susie lee
10 months ago
Reply to  KatiePig

I agree. Gay men are the same as any other group. Good bad and everything in between.

My cousin who is 67 now would be horrified to hear that Gay men get a pass for lying and stealing and abusing, just because they are gay. He has been with his partner since he was in his 20s and they are still together. I can’t imagine him abusing a woman, or making excuses for abusing a woman. Especially since his sister (one month younger than me) went through the horrors of a cheating asshole husband, just two years after I did.

Nut Cluster Free Zone
Nut Cluster Free Zone
10 months ago

Misrepresenting oneself these days is fraud and theft, in my opinion. It’s no longer the 1950s. I know of several closeted men and women of my parents’ generation who married at that time and eventually divorced their spouses, including an Episcopal priest. The priest and his wife stayed married (for financial reasons ?) until they finally divorced and he married his partner in San Francisco. His wife was kept IN LIMBO all those years ! Was that fair to her ?

I went to uni with fraternal twins Tim and Todd. Tim was very effeminate and we all assumed he was closeted but he married a woman in the early nineties. Todd also married and his wife died in her mid forties of breast cancer, leaving behind three young children. Todd is now partnered with a man. Was he gay all along or bisexual ? Was something off in his marriage to Anne and it eventually killed her ? Who knows.

A lesbian I met in CoDA confided in me after I stopped going to meetings when I ran into her that she’s divorcing her wife. She is NOT attracted to men and her lesbian wife is transitioning to a man. She’s getting a lot of grief from her community because she doesn’t “support” her spouse.

People deserve to know the truth about who they are married to so they can act accordingly, in their own best interests.

bread&roses
bread&roses
10 months ago

Late to the game, but two cents to add:

A person isn’t ‘illegal,’ even if their actions are. That’s a term used to dehumanize. We don’t even call criminals ‘illegal.’ The fact that OP’s ex was preying upon a person in a vulnerable position, however, is a red flag.
As a recovering chump, I am finally learning to consider how what someone else does affects me, rather than focusing on why they did it (and often empathizing/excusing them as a result). Is it acceptable to me? If not, what can I do? Intentions matter, and harm inflicted intentionally is likely far worse psychologically — but whether someone breaks your arm intentionally or accidentally, you’re still left with a broken arm. Whether or not it was truly an accident is yet another matter, and we all know liars lie. CL has helped me understand that cheaters have far more agency than we give them credit for, while simultaneously undermining ours.

Reading here has also made it clear that while there are many different flavors of FWs and serial cheaters, they all use the same playbook and they all suck. I am sorry for what the OP went through. David Sedaris wrote an aside in his diary about an acquaintance is gay and who married a woman, only deceived his wife for decades; Sedaris’ comment was something to the effect of, what a monster. Double lives are calculated and cruel and put unsuspecting partners at risk in every way imaginable. Cheating is abusive and destroys lives. There are no excuses or explanations for abuse that remove or minimize the harm to cheaters’ partners and families. A “closeted” gay man married to a woman willfully deceives her and feels entitled to use her as a wife appliance and take her life as a sacrifice to himself. He’s selfish, manipulative and abusive, same as all cheaters who feel entitled to do the same.

This issue does not diminish the extreme and institutionalized homophobia that is still very real and present in our country (and around the world). When the OP and FW were married, it wasn’t easy, and even today, it isn’t easy — especially depending on your family, religion, where you live, etc. It’s certainly not easier. (To be clear, I’m not excusing OP’s ex or trying to untangle his particular skein, and I know that many LGBTQ+ and individuals chose/choose not to deceive spouses about their sexuality.) It is ignorant and dangerous to deny the challenges and pressures that lead to people feeling the need to remain “closeted.” LGBTQ+ folks are too often vilified/made scapegoats and disproportionately face hate crimes and discrimination. Just read the news! Another chump noted the negative connotations in the letter and some comments, pointing out that being gay isn’t something to “cure.” Some of today’s comments seem to fan the flames of homophobia, which is disappointing. We’re anti-cheaters here… not “anti-gay” or “anti-illegal.”

Emma
Emma
10 months ago
Reply to  bread&roses

Her comment calling someone “an illegal” turned my stomach, as did her ten year belief he could become straight somehow. It sounds like her own prejudices are quite think still and probably these are the things she heard all the time that keep her stuck.

OHFFS
OHFFS
10 months ago
Reply to  bread&roses

B&R, I’m thinking it’s just the belief (whether mistaken or not) that some chumps were excusing gay cheating that was upsetting some of the commenters. I think some of the comments were explaining why a gay a man might stay closeted, but not making excuses for the cheating, so it was a misunderstanding. I didn’t see anyone being overtly racist or homophobic in response, though there was some reactive vitriol being thrown around.
The topic is obviously a sensitive one, to say the least.