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cmego posted 8/18/2013 07:52 AM

How do you learn to handle when the ex is nice to you? My ex is a classic NPD, the hiding and manipulating to keep the fact he is gay took huge amounts of mental shenanigans for years on his part. I was just the pawn.

But, way back of the main reasons I was attracted to him was that he was simply...nice. I used to call him a "boy scout", helped little old ladies across the road, sang in the church choir, always surprising me out of the blue, trips, flowers. His "kindness" drew me to him.

Now, I look back and see it was manipulation. He wanted me to see him a certain way, never allowing me to see the "real him".

He has down some really stupid things over the years. He has earned the nickname "That Ducker" for a reason among my friends. I still have friends who cannot look at ex.

I've applied to graduate school, and still waiting to see if I am accepted for fall. It will be a 2 year program with no flexibility to end earlier, and graduation date coincides with the end of my full spousal support. I will need to continue simultaneously earning my AS degree as I am completely switching fields. If I am accepted, it is going to be a killer 2 years, but I will end up with a MS from a great school and be very marketable, hopefully making a very decent salary.

When he picked up the kids, he asked if I had heard if I had been accepted yet, I replied no. He asked if I would go for Spring enrollment...(the issue is I applied late...) and I simply said, "No, that won't give me the time to complete the program and still have full support."

4 days later...he send me an email that he will extend my full support one more year so I can attend graduate school "without pressure". No strings attached.

It honestly has me caught off guard. I'm turning it over in my head.

I am so used to people, especially men (no offense to SI guys...) disappointing me, that is almost the norm. But, when someone, especially him, goes out of their way to be nice to me? Unexpected.

I simply replied, "Thank you. We will need to amend the PSA." and didn't say anything else. He replied, "OK".

He did tell me last Christmas that he thinks I will never see him any other way except as "the bad guy".

How else am I supposed to see him? I recognize that in the future he may bargain me for something...but he can't. We will file for D soon, everything is set. No more bargaining points left.

So, when it appears to be a gift...something truly just...nice (albeit probably driven from guilt) do you handle this internally?

How do you reconcile the asshole with a nice gesture? At some point do you not look at them through the lens of pain and disappointment? Do they simply become fallible people that you once knew?

Williesmom posted 8/18/2013 07:57 AM

It's guilt. Take what he offers, and use it to make your life better. Nothing more.

9.10.11 posted 8/18/2013 08:01 AM

Just be nice. My X has done the same and I know it is just so she feels better about herself. I look at it as the x at least try'n to think of someone else besides herself. Let them have their "time" to think they are good, cause they know deep down they have treated people like crap.(ie kids, the other person, parents, family, friends, etc)
live and let live....we all know they are POS's.
Just don't get caught up in their little mind game.

asurvivor posted 8/18/2013 08:38 AM

At some point do you not look at them through the lens of pain and disappointment? Do they simply become fallible people that you once knew?

I think that totally depends on your situation and time. Situation: God knows from reading posts here for years about the WS, some are POS's. But you know, one of them started SI so I wouldn't say all are, would you? Only you know if he was a downright lowdown POS or not. Is he? Maybe he is basically a nice guy who feels guilt I don't know, but the bottom for me on this is that,for what ever reason he wants to help you and if you need the help accept it (if no strings)and Time: keep moving gracefully on down your road without him until you indeed rid yourself of the pain and disappointment (hopefully sooner than later)...for your sake not his. But strings.

[This message edited by asurvivor at 8:49 AM, August 18th (Sunday)]

cmego posted 8/18/2013 09:07 AM

I guess I am at the point that ex takes up so little head space. I don't even think about him unless something "happens", either negative or positive, or I am telling someone else about my past. He will call the kids and I suddenly think, "oh, yeah...him."

I feel very neutral about ex. I still have ghosts, don't get me wrong, but I am slowly working through them. I don't know how to gauge my situation compared to others, everything is traumatic. I have a double whammy to deal with (he was hiding he is gay...) so I know it is a lot to sort through. Both for me, and my children.

But, overall, I know I am doing extremely well handling my entire life changing in 3 short years. The only thing consistent from my married life is that I still have my children. Everything else, literally everything, changed. I got it and handle it.

I honestly thought about not accepting his offer. Then I had to think about why. Then I wondered if the future would hold a place where I see him differently.

Most people who meet my ex think he is a really nice guy. Me, and the people closest to me know what he put me through. To everyone else he is...great.

Dunno. It is a cool, rainy Sunday morning and I have a cup of coffee and some thoughts rattling around in my brain.

asurvivor posted 8/18/2013 09:17 AM

I guess I am at the point that ex takes up so little head space. I don't even think about him unless something "happens", either negative or positive, or I am telling someone else about my past.

I can relate to that...enjoy your coffee...I'm about to do the same on an absolutely beautiful morning. good to be alive

Amazonia posted 8/18/2013 10:31 AM

I think that ideally, his attitude will not have any effect on you, right? You're largely at that point, and I think that's how you went about processing this. Gut started to say no, but then you stopped and removed the emotional part and made the decision that benefits you and the kids. You've been through this dance many times before, putting your gut in place and going with the option that best benefits you and the kids, regardless of the fact that he's being a collassal whining idiot or a jerk or begging you to sort out his finances or ignoring your requests that he handle introducing his bf to the kids maturely or whatever else negative he has done. His attitude doesn't affect it - you do what's best for you and the kids. IMHO you already got this one without thinking so much about it.

Sad in AZ posted 8/18/2013 10:42 AM

I accept help from the X when I need it. I help him when it suits me. I have absolutely no intention of reconciling with him nor do I intend to get sucked back into his life. He made his bed and he'll have to lie in it, but I wish him no ill will, so I can treat him like I'd treat any other acquaintance.

Take the extra support but make sure YOU adhere to the 'no strings attached'. If he tries to suck you in, then you remember bad behavior.

hexed posted 8/18/2013 11:02 AM

My X has helped me out several times b/c of his guilt. I accept it when I need it. Put it in writing and say thank you.

If easing his guilt has a price that makes your life better -- WTH? Isn't it time you did what's best for you?

cayc posted 8/18/2013 12:19 PM

It's a guilt gift. He eases his shame (you need the degree, the career because he conned you out of your life) and doing something that he can afford to do financially makes him feel better about himself. It lets him be responsible guy.

And since he should be responsible guy, then I think you dont need to give it more thought or reevaluate any thoughts you have about him. You can take advantage of the gesture - that helps both you & the kids - without being manipulated by it like you would have been pre-scales falling from your eyes day. And that to me seems the perfect lane in the road to take.

movingforward777 posted 8/18/2013 12:36 PM

Just accept it, get it in writing, say "Thank You" and move on with a little less stress during your schooling!
If you were to write a list of "all the shitty things" and "all the nice things" he's done for/to you over the years it probably wouldn't balance out....
Accept the "gift", don't make a big fuss (he may be waiting for you to fall all over yourself to thank him), and relax a will be hard enough without the added stress of finances...
It's great to hear someone is getting nice things done for them!...HUGS

stillstrong posted 8/18/2013 15:52 PM

So, when it appears to be a gift...something truly just...nice (albeit probably driven from guilt) do you handle this internally?

t/j, sorry....
If you answer this question, please share. You seem to have handled it well, but this is the reason I have such a hard time with NC. My X is extremely good to me 95% of the time. People complain about ex's not paying extras. Mine even paid 1/2 for the hotel room I stayed in while moving DD to college. Once, I told DD to ask Dad for money because I was tapped out. After she asked him, he texted me asking how often I give her money, then told me to let him know whenever she asks so that I don't have to carry that burden myself. (she is 18 so he pays no CS for her)
Every time I read threads complaining about exes that won't cooperate, won't pay for extras, won't be flexible with custody, etc, I thank God for my X, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy towards him.

Maybe I am giving your ex too much benefit of the doubt, but I imagine it has to be a horrible burden to be gay, try to deny it to yourself, marry, then find that you can't live a lie. More than assuaging his guilt, I would think he has a tremendous amount of fondness for you as well.

cmego posted 8/18/2013 18:03 PM

Yeah, the internal part is recognizing he is not a demonic fire breathing spawn of satan...but a very fallible person who made shit choices.

I think it is more letting go.

Yeah, me.

Harriet posted 8/19/2013 00:54 AM

My ex is also very nice to me now. I tell people he was a lousy husband but very good at divorce. He gives me more finanacial support than is required and helps me with things that are too expensive for me. Everyone (almost) always says he is such a great guy. More than one friend has said, "It must make it even harder that he's so nice and everyone likes him." Sometimes I wish he were a jerk so I could move on faster. It makes it hard to move on. I have to continually aim for NC because it's still so painful for me everytime I see him go back to his OW. He had offered to stay with me until the kids were older and I said, "No thanks." My therapist tells me to hold on to that when I miss him - there is a reason I let him go. He really is not the stand-up guy everyone thinks he is. He wants us to be friends, but he lied and cheated so many times. I can't wait to reach a point where it doesn't hurt anymore, but it's taking forever to get there. Seeing him as good but fallible person would be nice.

click4it posted 8/19/2013 01:32 AM

Yeah, the internal part is recognizing he is not a demonic fire breathing spawn of satan...

But really they can be. My ex similar to yours. He was the all around "nice" guy - everyone loved him. And those he is connected to now, I'm sure still do. And there are times when he is "nice" and then he will turn around and do something REAL shitty and I think he's the demon all over again. He only does something "nice" for me out of what I think is guilt. He knows he was wrong on some level and will do the handy man things I ask for because then it makes him not only look good and still feel needed by me but also to "make up" for what he did before.

Now, see your ex might be different. He is actually asking about your future and your plans for school and that's something my ex NEVER asks of me. So, he might actually be sincere, but just keep one eye open just in case.

And fingers crossed for you getting into grad school!

cmego posted 8/19/2013 06:30 AM

Well, this is the only "no strings attached" nice thing he has done. He has been able to complete his PhD since we separated, so he values education.

I have my eyes wide open and looking for the bargaining chip, but realize how sad it is that I don't expect him to ever do something purely...nice.

He did tell me this past year, that he thinks about me way more now than he ever did while we were married. More "concerned" about me.

But, I recognize that I may be allowing the nice gestures as the apathy about the situation grows.

Housefulloflove posted 8/19/2013 07:35 AM

How do you reconcile the asshole with a nice gesture?

I don't bother trying at this point. I think of it as something nice for a possibly asshole reason. I'm trying very hard to not think about what motivations he has when he does something helpful. He trained me to expect so little from him that even simple things that he *should* be doing feel like something extra from him.

There is no telling if it's guilt, something that he is going to try to use against me later ("Well I did ___ so why won't you___?" kind of nonsense), looking for brownie points or if he is just doing something nice for nothing (although I feel like that is least likely). I just take it, text a quick thank you and keep moving forward.

7yrsflushed posted 8/19/2013 09:50 AM

Yeah, the internal part is recognizing he is not a demonic fire breathing spawn of satan...but a very fallible person who made shit choices.
I think it is more letting go.

This was/is the tough part for me. STBXW made some messed up choices and didn't take me to the cleaners but I still have a hard time not seeing beezlebub when I look at her or hear her voice when she is talking to the kids. Will we ever be "friends" nope, but we might be friendly towards each other. Right now it's cordial behavior and no fighting so I act accordingly but my guard is still up around her.

Helen of Troy posted 8/19/2013 10:13 AM

Accept the gift, say thank you while staying guarded AND with your boundaries on super lock down.

In my case he is a snake. I won't pick up a snake to be bitten again. He is personality disordered so he repeats a (fake) nice with horrible meanness cycle. I have witnessed that for too many years. No thanks!

exhausted lady posted 8/20/2013 01:18 AM

Accept the "gift"....but get it in writing. Notarized. Yeah, it's probably a guilt offering....but he's got plenty to feel guilty about. IMHO, it's the *least* he could do.

Take the money and run all the way to your new degree - and life. You already paid for this "gift". Look at it as payment for years of services rendered.

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