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Responding to "how are you?" messages from the abandoner

Tinnat posted 9/6/2020 13:10 PM

This has been a painful week and weekend: On Monday we told our daughters we're separating and divorcing, and on Friday they were introduced to the AP and the 4 of them went shopping for furniture for the new apartment that H is paying for and sharing with the AP. The girls, at least one of them, came back to my house today happy and diplomatically suggesting that AP is really nice. While I expected that, it felt like a knife through my stomach.

When H dropped them off this morning, it looks like he expected to talk to me, but I couldn't even say hi to him - I just let my daughters in and closed the door. What would you have done in my stead?

Also, I expect him to text me a "how are you" message tomorrow. I'm caught between telling him my perception of the last week and then conclude "do you even need to ask how I am?", or something else, or nothing. I don't want our relationship to deteriorate to the point that it would affect our job as co-parents, yet I'm finding it hard to act collected because I still have a lot of hurt to work through.

[This message edited by Tinnat at 2:34 PM, September 6th (Sunday)]

BearlyBreathing posted 9/6/2020 13:52 PM

How you handled at the door was fine. No words are necessary.

As for him texting, you do not need to respond. Not responding is not being rude. It is none of his business how you are doing. Don’t feed the monster. If you must respond (and that reflex is STRONG in me), ask him if there is something he needs. He’s not your friend and if it isn’t about the kids and finances, you don’t need to answer. When you do answer, remove the chit-chat and just respond. Not rude, not angry. Neutral.

“Can I drop the kids off 15 minutes early”. Response is yes or no — nothing else.

Treat him like a coworker that you have to work with..cordial, but that’s all.

Easier said than done, but gets easier with practice.

And yeah, the kids liking the AP hurts. But over time, they will form true opinions and trust that they form accurate ones. They won’t fall for fake stuff as they grown up. And try to remind yourself that you want AP to be good to your kids— your WH did this and they are the innocents.

So sorry you are in pain. (((Tinnat)))

skeetermooch posted 9/6/2020 14:14 PM

I would've done the exact same thing.
My rule after divorcing my son's narc father - who introduced him to I don't know how many women immediately: Do not respond to anything that doesn't relate to kids or money. Even then, only if it's truly a necessary convo.

I sent my ex's emails straight to a folder. I looked at the folder rarely. Eventually, I forgot to check it at all. The sky didn't fall. Occasionally if he really needed an answer he might text asking if I'd seen his email.

He's likely staying cordial with you because he wants you as a backup or he wants to keep the parts of the relationship he still wants while he takes up with the AP.

Don't put yourself through any added emotional labor trying to feign niceness when you want to ring his neck. If he' got narc tendencies, he's going to eat up any attention from you - positive or negative. He didn't want to be married anymore so he could go off with his AP - so cut off the friendship.

skeetermooch posted 9/6/2020 14:16 PM

And...it won't deteriorate the relationship any further. These kind of men are happy to pick up where you left off when and if you decide to be friendlier with him.

You don't have to be mean or show anger, just minimal communication.

Walkthestorm posted 9/6/2020 15:33 PM

I have been lurking on this site for many months without posting. This is my first post.

I have followed your story from when you first posted and it really hit my sore spot. I find your story so utterly heartbreaking. I even discussed it with my H and we are both outraged on your behalf.

What stands out from your posts is that your WH is a highly manipulative person. I have been in a similar situation many years ago with a partner who I cared for deeply but who in the end manipulated me with the same type of tactics your WH is now using. This is the reason why I relate so much to you and your story.

What is heartbreaking to watch is that this man has manipulated you to an extent that he has taken your narrative, your story, away from you and that you are selling his narrative to your children, family and friends. I believe this is one of the reasons why you have such a hard time dealing with this. He has made you lie for him under his “poor confused, don’t want to hurt anyone, pity me for destroying my life me” persona. What it really comes down to is that your WH is a cowered who does not want to take responsibility for his actions and how others will see him. He is not a victim. He has been planning this for years. Betraying your wife/husband/partner has consequences for the whole family no matter what. He does not want to own up his choices and deal with the fallout. On your expense! But Tinnat, this is his cross to bear. It is not yours! You are entitled to your story so you can move on. This has nothing to do about your ego or being a good co-parent. It has to do with the fact that you do not live and tell any more lies to your children, family and friends.

Don’t be me! It took me years to realize that the man I thought I knew was a liar, a fraud and a grand manipulator. Your WH is not looking out for you or your children. He is looking out for himself. Free yourself from this madness and start by telling your daughters the whole (age appropriate) truth! After that, expose him to your family and friends. Do not lie for him (and do not let him fool you into believing it would be best for the kids). Own your story! Believe me, this will free you and will not haunt you years from now as it haunted me.

Then cut him off completely as much as you can. NC except for short yes/no answers and only in regards to kids and divorce. Change locks to your house. Tell your children he is not allowed in your house anymore. And finally Tinnat, you have been and still are living in a long drawn out trauma. Find an IC as soon as possible to start working through some of your emotions.

I know this is so hard, especially when you see your abuser so distraught and confused. It’s unbelievable to you but it is all an act on his part. You are a victim of emotional abuse. We don’t know you but know that you are not alone (even if it feels like it). There are people thinking of you and we are cheering for you! Hugs!

99problems posted 9/6/2020 16:17 PM

Im going through some of the same stuff. My daughter often talks about AP and that he's really nice and that he's going to be her stepdad.
He moved in at 2 months post separation.
It is hard. The only things I actually know about this guy are extremely negative. He likes cocaine, doesn't allow things to be moved in the house he just moved into, left his son 2000 miles away, and is a idiotic and violent person.
But there's absolutely nothing I can do unless he abuses my daughter.
So... yeah, if she texted me "How are you?" I wouldn't respond.
Because if I did respond, it would be something like, "I'm extremely homicidal and heavily armed" or something like that and it would not be fun to explain in divorce court.
"Your Honor, have you ever heard of 'hyperbole as a comedic device' before? No?"

Tinnat posted 9/7/2020 02:33 AM

Walkthestorm, thank you. Thank you especially for making the effort to post your first comment. They were just the words I needed to hear on the morning of a brand new week.

I am only now beginning to realise that H is a manipulator, and I am JUST beginning to see how he has truly emotionally abused me. Me, who I thought was an unusually strong woman, living with a very caring husband. But I was blinded by the fact that I thought I knew him (21 years together before he started acting up), and because I thought he had a midlife crisis. Now I need to understand that perhaps it IS a midlife crisis, BUT it did not give him the right to manipulate me by relying on me to be empathetic to his situation.

I will indeed see an IC, because I can see how this risks making a very deep scar in me, and I need to be able to move on totally and to become truly indifferent to H or anything he does.

Thank you for being so direct with me. I'm glad (and inspired) that you were able to move on!

[This message edited by Tinnat at 2:36 AM, September 7th (Monday)]

Tinnat posted 9/7/2020 02:38 AM

Idiotmcstupid, thank you. Your sense of humour resonates with me! A friend texted to ask me if I needed anything, and I asked whether he knows any thugs. He said yes he does, "no problem", which got me to very hastily write that seriously, I was only joking.

BigBlueEyes posted 9/7/2020 04:59 AM

Hi Tinnat,

First, I would like to say you are still a strong woman (even if you don't feel it)

Second, What your WH has done is despicable, he has treated the mother of his children abysmally.

He may be able to rewrite history for his own narrative, however he doesn't get to rewrite your history for his own selfish reasons,

Seriously he doesn't get to be or feel like the 'good guy' any longer.

I was manipulated for years (27), beaten down, told numerous times many hurtful things, threatened, lied to, betrayed, & much much more, I kept most things from friends & family, including my children, until I joined this site I let all these things happen.
I own all of this.

until 1 day I woke up from my fog & fought back, I took back control & now I get to write my own story how I see it,
I told 'our' friends, I told my family (esp my dad) & I told our children the whole truth (all in their 20's) I let the chips fall where they fell,

My Ex has had to work his ass off for a relationship with our kids & GC, he lost most of our friends, he lost respect from a lot of people,
He still continues to work on himself because if he doesnt he knows the people he cares about will walk away just like I did.
As long as I was lying & avoiding this I was enabling him to continue his manipulated behaviour,
He was still in control.

The main thing I learned from everything I experienced was I got to be strong again, I don't see it as taking the high road, I see it as no longer lying for an abusive, lying cheat.

its not our place to make excuses for cheats, liars, manipulators, Thats all on them.

Your kids deserve to know their father is not the 'good guy' they also deserve to know who this woman is that hasn't just appeared in their lives, like me I'm sure you will be very surprised by what they do know.

His constant disrespect of you, your marriage, & your feelings needs to stop.

you deserve so much better.

Be strong & fearless (((((hugs)))))

OwningItNow posted 9/7/2020 07:01 AM

I guess I need to ask why you are not angry and insulted beyond repair? Why do you continue to want him instead of feeling disgust at his treatment of you? Where is your line when you think, "Nope, you've gone too far. YOU are no longer attractive to ME!!!"

It is a bad sign about our emotional health when someone treats us badly, changes their mind about us, replaces us, tells us all about the replacement, comes and goes from being with the replacement, and our continued reaction is sadness that we cannot win this person. Why do you think this weak, inconsistent, selfish, dishonorable, poor role model of a human is a prize? Eww. Blech. I would run the other way from someone who acted this way.

I sincerely hope that when you finally remember what a prize you are and find yourself a new man to adore you, you laugh in your ex's face when he says he "might want to come home" (because that's the kind of weak, selfish stuff he does). I hope you laugh so hard and shriek, "THAT is the funniest thing I have ever heard! Why would I want to be with you again? I have this fabulous new life!" And laugh until your eyes tear as you walk away.

I see that he has gazillions of psychotherapists, but do you see anyone, Tinnat? You need the support, someone to help you see that you are disrespecting yourself and harming your own self-esteem when you allow this poor treatment. Fake it til you make it. Even if you don't feel strong, cutting him off because that's the strong thing to do will make you see your strength. You need to cut him out of your life because he has disrespected you, not because you are mean. What would you advise your own child? Exactly.

He has no respect for you. He has no respect for his family, putting them through this. He has no respect for the OW. What does this all mean? He only cares for himself and is NOT a good person. We cut 'not good people' out of our lives without guilt. If he held a machete, would you feel badly not answering or slamming the door? Of course not. Time to kick this toxic pile of anthrax out of your life. Tell everyone the truth. Stop covering for him. Stop wanting him. Stop living your life around him. The truth and honesty will set you free.

[This message edited by OwningItNow at 7:01 AM, September 7th (Monday)]

Gottagetthrough posted 9/7/2020 07:04 AM

And yeah, the kids liking the AP hurts. But over time, they will form true opinions and trust that they form accurate ones. They won’t fall for fake stuff as they grown up.

This is so true. Wh left is for AP 1 in 2009. My oldest was a preschooler. She loved going to dad and ow house on weekends. They were very Disney Dad with her. She had FOUR cavities that year when she hasn’t had any before or since . They let her have tons of candy, ordered food every night, watched the 65 in tv that he bought instead of paying child support.

This year. THIS YEAR! My now 14 yr old told me she loved ow’s house at first but at the end was very scared because she noticed stuff wasn’t right. You be the best parent you can be for them and they will come through ok. But they will know what WS did. And they may judge him for it. (My kids do. My DD was a daddy’s girl until this year and has just written off her father. She often talks about his infidelities and challenges him and says what’s your problem?)

[This message edited by Gottagetthrough at 7:05 AM, September 7th (Monday)]

Tinnat posted 9/7/2020 07:51 AM

I guess I need to ask why you are not angry and insulted beyond repair? Why do you continue to want him instead of feeling disgust at his treatment of you? Where is your line when you think, "Nope, you've gone too far. YOU are no longer attractive to ME!!!"

Thank you, OwningitNow. I am angry and very insulted, and no, I no longer find it attractive. I don't want him anymore. However, I need to watch my steps. We still have joint property, joint accounts, and I don't want him to get angry and screw me over at this point. This is why I'm treading carefully.

Walkthestorm posted 9/7/2020 13:40 PM

Hi Tinnat,

I am glad that my post provided you with some comfort.

What you write resonates with me so much. I am the rock for my whole family and am known to make sound and logical decisions and offer good advice. This is also why it was so hard for me to accept that I was manipulated and utterly fooled for years.

Reading your posts, to me you come across as an independent person who thinks many steps ahead before making a logical decision. In many situations this is a great quality to have. However, it is very hard to be logical when your whole life, all your beliefs about people who you deeply care for and your secure place is ripped under you. In this emotional turmoil it is hard to be logical. And you know what. That is ok! You do not need to be logical right now.

I believe that you are coming out of the fog of manipulation and starting to see just how calculated your WHs actions really are. I believe you are now interpreting all his words as verbal diharriah and letting his actions speak. This is a great first step Tinnat! You are way ahead of the curb compared to where I was. It took me years to come to the terms of how mistreated I really was. Just to accept this realization was one of the hardest things for me to come to terms with.

I understand you are reluctant to upset your children’s lives and want to shield them. But honestly Tinnat, the damage is already done. They just don’t know it fully. You not telling your children the truth is not about being a “bigger person” or thinking telling the truth would “serve your ego”. What it really comes down to is that lying to your children (and friends and family) is just as bad as your WH laying to you. By omitting the truth, your daughters can not make a choice whether they want to have any type of relationship with this woman or not. Please don’t buy into the crap he is telling you that the woman will move to her home country once the pandemic is over. This is not going to happened and I believe you know this deep down inside. This woman came here to be with him. He probably made that happened. She left her family so she can come to your country and I would not be surprised if her family follows once she has fully settled. He has probably used your marital assets to set her up, pay for her upkeep, take her on holidays and is most probably using them now to buy furniture for their new cozy apartment. This is beyond disgusting! I would also bet money on that this woman did not try to commit suicide. Your WH is a layer. All her cares about is that he looks good in the eyes of others.

You are probably very overwhelmed with advice from people and posters advising you what to do, what not to do, how you should feel and not feel. But at the end of the day, this is your reality and not one of us walks in your shoes. However, there is a compiled wisdom on this site that many of us are generous to share. Spare yourself more pain by following some of the advice already given by others and modify it if needed. If I could go back I would do many things differently. That is why I am offering you this advice.

- Take some time of work if you can to think, regroup and make practical plans.
- Surround yourself with friends and family for support. Do you have a solid support system?
- Get a good picture of your financial situation. Dig back and save all the joint account information going years back. If you can, transfer half of the money in your joint account to your own account. Inform your WH after the fact.
- Get your own lawyer to draw up a separation agreement. Consult him/her about financial infidelity and if you can get a larger share of your joint marital assets that were spent on the AP.
- Tell your children, friends and family. Expose.
- Get yourself into therapy a.s.a.p. Find someone that specializes in trauma.
- Minimize contact with WH. Detach. Hard NC except for kids/finances.

One day Tinnat, looking back on this dark period of your life you will be amazed that you survived. But you will survive and THRIVE! The world is in a desperate need of good, honest and caring people and you appear to be one of them! Just know that you are not alone on this path and that we are here for you whenever you need us.One day at a time. Hugs!

[This message edited by Walkthestorm at 1:43 PM, September 7th (Monday)]

Tinnat posted 9/7/2020 14:23 PM

A lot of useful advice, Walkthestorm, thank you.

For what it's worth, I'd like to note that friends and family know the full story now. I have also told my daughters, gently but firmly and truthfully, that the relationship with her was what brought us to the situation today, and that this woman is not a friend and that their dad betrayed me, and most important of all, the life message that NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE.

Yes, I have no doubt he brought her here, and that she will never leave the flat he is paying for (even when he'll want her to), and that he has been lying his eyes out in order to save face and look good with everyone.

I know I will be fine. I have to admit that a bit of justice, or karma if you wish, in the form of this woman driving him to hell, would be very welcome. And this is what I need to work on now - to get to the point that whether he is in hell or in heaven, makes no difference to me.

[This message edited by Tinnat at 3:01 PM, September 7th (Monday)]

takethelongview posted 9/8/2020 13:03 PM

"How am I? I'm sorry, that's no longer your privilege to know. Please do not ask again, and do not ask the children for information about me. It puts them in an uncomfortable position and the situation is difficult enough for them."

Walkthestorm posted 9/9/2020 07:28 AM

Tinnat, i am so glad and proud of you for sharing the truth with your children, friends and family.I hope you feel liberated to not have to carry on lying to others and to betray yourself by telling a lie. I also hope you have taken some practical steps to fully remove yourself from this toxic man.

As far as revenge goes, you reap what you sow. In the end, what we take with us to the other side is the memories others will have of us. Think about that for a moment and realize that your WH will be remembered as a layer who betrayed and lied to the people who cared most for him. Live your life with honesty, integrity and love. That is the best revenge.

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