Newest Member: shouldistayorshouldigono


Me: Crap, I'm 50 years old. D-Day: August 30, 2016. Two years of false reconciliation. Divorce final: Feb 1, 2021. Re-married: December 3, 2022.

A weird new beginnings/mental health issue: memories from a (fake) marriage?

For those of you who don't know me (I'm not on here much anymore), D-day was slightly more than 7 years ago. We separated 5 years ago and after a long, nasty divorce... I've been divorced for almost 3 years. I have been re-married for a year (1st anniversary was yesterday).

I've been in therapy for most of that and I am still in therapy. I have issues that probably start with my narcissistic and abusive mother... and my ex who was constantly blaming me for everything wrong in her life (for example, I was the reason that she had a long-term affair).

Anyway, I am working through my issues and I am trying to get myself to a better place. The weird thing is that a lot of people have been telling me to forgive my ex as if that will solve my problems. Here is the thing, though: (1) I am certain that I have forgiven my ex for her infidelity. I am not angry about that at all. I haven't been angry about that for a long, long time (probably around the time we separated), and (2) I was definitely very angry at my ex for what she did during our divorce -- about 90% of everything that she said and did during our divorce was lying, cheating, or stealing.

I am now fairly confident that I am no longer angry at her for what she did during our divorce. It cost me a lot of money as far as legal/lawyer costs, but that's not something that I think about at all. I am still paying a good deal of child support (but no alimony), which doesn't really bother me because I would be spending that money on my children anyway. I miss my children, of course, but I have really good relationships with two of them... although my relationship with the third could be improved.

All of that is background to give you an idea of my mental state. Meaning, in the spirit of "know thyself"... that's what I think of me, right now.

But here is my problem... My ex clearly lived a double life. She had her normal/boring/house/white-picket-fence life with me and then her weird, behind-closed-doors sex life that she kept hidden from me for more than 10 years (I don't know how much she cheated, but I now think that the cheating was throughout our relationship... literally from the beginning of us dating). So, when I think of the ~15 years that we were together, I really struggle to look back fondly on even the good times that we had because I know that they were fake. I am even capable of cutting her out of happy FAMILY memories, like I can enjoy the family trip to Disney that we once took as far as the memories of what I did with my children; I mentally cut her out of those memories analogous to the way that you can cut someone out of a photo using scissors (or AI, if all of your photos are digital).

I feel like I could be happier if I could look back and at least enjoy the memories that I had when I was with her. But, I can't look back at those... because she was pretending to be happy with me (or something like that).

How do you all deal with the memories of your ex? Do you look back fondly or not at all? Do you look back at it as a lesson learned?

I'm just struggling with a 15-year black hole in my memory that I'd like to reconcile. It really sucks to have 15 years of bad memories... I'd like to have those back or at least let them go without pretending to have amnesia.

Any thoughts or personal anecdotes that y'all can share to help me out? Thank you in advance.

17 comments posted: Monday, December 4th, 2023

My daughter's High School Grad Party: Advice requested

I didn't exactly know where to put this question and I felt that it was best in the New Beginnings area. Mods: please move it if you think that it belongs elsewhere.

I feel like there is a good deal of background needed for this... so...


For those of you who don't know me or remember me (I'm not on SI much any more), my D-Day was in August 2016, which eventually led to xWW initiating a divorce in August 2018.

The divorce became exceptionally nasty... with my xWW accusing me of all sorts of bad behavior that I will not describe again. I literally had to fire two different attorneys until I found someone talented enough to handle the avalanche of false allegations, after which my divorce proceeded somewhat normally (although it remained expensive, absurd, and high-conflict). After a trial, I was legally divorced on Feb 1, 2021 but it wasn't until May 2022 that appeals and other issues were fully resolved.

Simply put, my xWW is a cover narcissist who is very likable on the surface but she is also very devious and evil and she has tried (but failed) to ruin my life (unrelated New Beginning comment: I'm doing GREAT!!! I've survived infidelity and come out the other end better than ever -- yay!!).

During this time, xWW has tried to have me arrested numerous times. The first time was when she literally faked a domestic violence event in front of our children. She started screaming and yelling as if I was hitting her; the kids could not see what was happening but they could hear her. I eventually learned that she literally called the police prior to this event (I've experienced a lot of gaslighting, so I don't always trust my own version of reality). On three other occasions, she accused me of something akin to kidnapping because I was casually standing in a doorway and she claimed that I refused to let her leave (she never asked to be allowed to leave). On the night in which the judge made a temporary ruling in which I was required to leave the martial home, she told our children that I was certain to come home and beat her up, so she took the kids to her "friend's" house (i.e, her boyfriend at the time, who was not yet identified as a boyfriend). Almost two years after that in which I routinely picked up and dropped off our children at her house, she decided that me pulling my car into her driveway to pick up or drop off our children was "threatening"; she told me that she would call the police if I ever entered her property again. I have complied with this order; my children now have to walk to the street for me to pick them up, even in the cold and/or rainy weather.

Many/most of the issues with xWW have revolved around money. She has primary custody of the children, so I pay her a lot of child support. In addition to child support, however, she feels like I should pay for at least half of their expenses such as their clothes, their sporting activities, their school trips, their cell phones, etc. So, she used to regularly tell the children that I don't pay for anything... although xWW is obviously doing just fine financially as she has purchased a new house (and MUCH more expensive), a new car (i.e, she now has two cars), and a lot of new furniture since getting divorced. In contrast, I have struggled financially for much of this time, although I am (now) more or less back on feet, financially speaking.

Throughout the entirety of the divorce and even after the divorce, my xWW was very active in the area of parental alienation of our three children. She told them all of the same lies (and more!) that she told the court. During the summer of 2019, both of my daughters stopped speaking to me for 2-3 months. I believe (hope?) that I have effectively thwarted the parental alienation with both of my daughters (it never seemed to affect my son -- he and I have always been "good"). I think that I have completely turned around my relationship with my younger daughter (DD16), although she is now 16 years old and our relationship is often difficult but it feels like "normal" difficult, if that makes sense.

My relationship with my oldest daughter (DD17) remains distant/strained, although I think the major issue is her genuine personality rather than parental alienation. First, DD17 is very introverted (so am I). Second, I suspect that DD17 is on the autism spectrum (Asperger's) and so she's just kind of difficult during the best of times. Third, DD17 has created a very busy life for herself, which does not include time for her father. I now live about 30 miles from xWW and I have parenting time on Thursdays and every-other-weekend. DD17 signed up for a Jazz band class that meets at 7 am on Friday mornings, so she has skipped my Thursday evening parenting time since September. DD17 is also involved in a number of other extracurricular activities as well as working at a restaurant for 10-15 hours per week. I am guessing that she comes to my house maybe one night per month and only if I explicitly ask her about her plans for the night and/or weekend.

I have borderline perfected the grey rock method as far as xWW and any parental alienation. I keep in mind that the primary victims of parental alienation are my children, even if I am the primary target. I communicate with xWW strictly through OurFamilyWizard and I never discuss anything of a personal nature. I never say anything remotely critical of xWW around my children. I attend as many of their functions as I can, even though it is 60+ miles round trip for me to do so.

Actual Issue

DD17 is graduating from high school in a few weeks. Because it's obvious that xWW and I have a high conflict relationship, DD17 and I have discussed having two graduation parties for her (i.e., one hosted by me and one hosted by xWW). However, because I don't have a lot of friends (I'm introverted and I lost most of my casual friends during the divorce), DD17 and I decided that I would host a party for her and her friends elsewhere this summer (i.e., not an "adult" party); this seemed like a good way for me to show my love, appreciation, and pride as far as DD17 but yet avoid the awkward redundancy of having two different graduation parties. That is, her mother would host an "adult" grad party and I would host more of a "fun" grad party.

On Sunday evening, DD17 texted me and asked if June 8th was okay for a grad party. Assuming that she was talking about the "fun" grad party that I planned to host, I asked her to call me (I was driving) so that I could get the details. In my mind, I was planning on hosting this party in July, so one of my first questions was "who will be attending?" DD17 immediately started listing off xWW's parents, siblings, xWW's partner's family etc. Being used to not criticizing anyone to DD17, I basically said that I didn't think that any of those people would want to come to my house... and it was at that point that I learned the actual truth:

I was being invited to my daughter's graduation party at xWW's house!!!

How do I handle this situation?

Remember, I have been told by her that walking onto her property is trespassing and that she will call the police if I ever walk onto her property again. Her family/relatives will also be there, all of whom I hated before I found out about the infidelity. Many of my old friends (i.e., the ones that took her side in the our divorce) will be there too. As in, other than my children, I really don't want to interact with anyone at this party ever again.

This invitation has me very much flummoxed. My spidey senses are definitely tingling that xWW is up to something.

One thought is that xWW will ask me to pay for half of the grad party in exchange for being allowed to attend. In some ways, this will give me an "out" because I can simply refuse to attend for this reason. That is, it's her party so she can pay for it.

Another thought, although very unlikely, is that xWW will have me arrested if I attend. I don't think this is likely because it would obviously make DD17 very angry, but I would still feel much more comfortable if I had an actual invitation (i.e., so that I could show it to the police if something came up).

Otherwise, my plan would be to show up, hug my daughter and tell her how proud I am of her, stay for a very short time, and then leave. That is, attend the party briefly but be a grey rock.

Other thoughts and advice?

43 comments posted: Friday, May 19th, 2023

selling rings?

This is mostly off-topic... if the mods think that it should be moved elsewhere, please do.

I have two rings that I would like to sell. One is gold and then other is platinum.

Any suggestions on the best way to do this? I honestly have no clue...

5 comments posted: Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Do you want a bit of a laugh?

I had a mini-argument with my ex wife this past weekend.

She was doing her normal, low-level parental alienation stuff. She got our son a gaming console as a gift for Christmas and then she refused to let him bring it to my home for the rest of the week. This is not explicitly a violation of our parenting plan, but it was something that we were explicitly taught to NEVER do during our custody evaluation.

I learned of her decision from my daughter, who my ex had texted to inform me of this decision. We are explicitly banned from communicating to each other via the children, so this *was* an explicit violation of the parenting plan.

So, I messaged my ex about both of these incidents, letting her know that both of these are hurting her children.

She responded with predictable vitriol. I am, according to her, hurting our children even more by occasionally showing up late to pick them up for my parenting time (not true) and that I have been telling them that I can't wait until they turn 18 years old so that I can stop paying child support. This latter accusation is very much not true; I am quite happy to financially support my children. In fact, I have never even had this thought, let alone said it out loud to someone else. The reality is that once they turn 18 years old, I will still need to support them financially because my ex wife will not. So, my effective "child support" will continue once my kids turn 18, albeit without my ex wife getting to control the funds and keep a portion for herself.

Anyway, that's all background for the punchline.

I eventually made a comment that she needs to get over her anger at me and to stop hurting our children a lot in a futile effort to hurt me a little (or not at all). I suggested that she follow the advice of our custody evaluator and to see a therapist to help her get over the end of her marriage. She responded with one of her funniest lines yet:

I should have divorced you a long time ago!

Ya think? You had multiple affairs (although she admits to only one) that occurred over most of our marriage. So, I responded in a very honest manner that I am sure cut her hard:

I agree that we should have gotten divorced a long time ago.

10 comments posted: Thursday, January 6th, 2022

Still struggling with "real vs. imagined"?

I figured that I would put this in New Beginnings because... well... it's relevant for my post-divorce life.

I now recognize that xWW was gaslighting me about her affairs... and although I don't remember many specific details... I am pretty sure that she was gaslighting me about a lot of the rest of our lives too.

Anyway, these days... I still find myself struggling with recognizing what is real versus what is not real.

I had a conversation with my attorney yesterday (we're appealing the judge's decisions on my divorce) and we discussed a few things that xWW said at trial. It was shockingly comforting to have a third person recognize that her statements were ridiculous. Meaning, I felt "less crazy" after talking to my attorney about things that xWW said at trial.

I know that some of you have been victims of long-term gaslighting like me. Have you gotten over it? Do you ever feel normal again?

I haven't lived with xWW for almost two years... and I am still struggling with recognizing reality.

26 comments posted: Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

I am divorced!

My attorney just called me.

The judge awarded her a bit of alimony and a little more child support that we asked for... but nothing like she had been requesting.

My attorney said that I have a really strong case on appeal because the judge made an easily documentable error. I don't know if I will go that route because the amount of alimony is relatively small ($400 per month for 7 years) compared to the cost of an appeal ($10-20K).

Time to celebrate!


299 comments posted: Monday, February 1st, 2021

I need advice about my daughter

If you don't know, my divorce is super high conflict. STBXW and I do not speak at all anymore.

Prior to the divorce beginning, my oldest daughter (age = 15) had been experiencing mild mental health issues for a year or two.

After the divorce began, DD15 started experiencing more severe mental health issues... and STBXW suggested that she speak to a family friend, informally, whereas I got her into see a therapist. The therapist has helped, quite a bit.

To give you an idea of STBXW's mentality, she literally testified in court that I was a jerk for "forcing" DD15 to see a therapist but that STBXW was a wonderful mother because she now takes DD15 to therapy every week and it's been helping (I'm not allowed to take DD 15 to therapy -- it's scheduled on a day that is STBXW's parenting time).

I got a long email from the therapist today. DD15 is not eating well and apparently the therapist thinks that it is literally an eating disorder (DD15 does not have body image issues, according to the therapist). DD15 is also apparently hearing voices, but (according to the therapist) it is not likely to be schizophrenia (I don't understand why).

My GF is convinced that DD15 has Asperger's. GF is a high school teacher with a master's degree that included a good deal of education in psychology. She also has had plenty of experience with students (especially girls) with Asperger's. Also, I suspected that my daughter was on the autism spectrum throughout her early childhood, to the point where I even asked her pediatrician about it.

What would I like to do? I'd like to get DD15 into see a psychiatrist, but STBXW almost certainly won't allow it (because her self-image can't stand to have a daughter who sees a psychiatrist) or she won't let me take her (because she has to control her children).

Any advice on how to proceed? I am talking more about how to deal with my narcissistic STBXW more so than the medical side (but medical advice would be fine too).

15 comments posted: Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Brag post: No more antidepressants!

This is a new beginning of a different kind, although it is definitely infidelity-related.

After D-day in August 2016 (and even before... because of the red flags), I fell into clinical depression. The ride on the depression roller coaster was not fun; it included a lame-ass suicide attempt in August 2017. The low point was not the suicide attempt; it was when I was placed on Abilify, which basically slowed my brain down so that I no longer had a will to live.. Then, when we started tapering me off of that drug, I experienced severe anxiety in addition to depression.

I was very lucky to have had a great psychiatrist (more correctly: master's level nurse practitioner of psychiatry) and after I went to the hospital... I found a great therapist too. By the time that I had gotten off of Abilify, the therapy was working and I was doing much better. Although I haven't had depression symptoms since May 31, 2018, STBXW deciding to get divorced in late August 2018 was yet another milestone as that was the beginning of the removal process for that cancerous blight on my mental health.

About a year ago, my psychiatrist and I decided to start tapering down my dose of antidepressant, slowing reducing from 100 mg/day down to 25 mg/day. Today, I spoke to my psychiatrist and we agreed that I am doing well and that I do not have to take any more Zoloft and that I do not even need a follow-up visit (she trusts that I will call her back if I start having trouble again).

So, here's to be both being depression and medication free!!! Woot!!!

18 comments posted: Monday, July 6th, 2020

Finding names associated with phone numbers?

I am in the middle of a high conflict divorce. Until recently, I had access to STBXWW's texting records (we had had a shared cell phone account).

STBXWW is claiming that she does not have a boyfriend, even though she has introduced a guy to our kids. This is pertinent for our custody evaluation.

I think, based on her texting records, that she is also seeing at least 2 other guys right now, perhaps more than that.

My problem: I know the numbers that she texts and the times/days... but I do not know the person associated with many of the specific phone numbers.

How can I do a reverse phone number search? I am willing to pay for an online account, but I would like a referral to a site that is legitimate.


13 comments posted: Sunday, July 21st, 2019

Catching the Unabomber -- Investigate what is missing

I have been watching the series about the FBI guys who caught the Unabomber on Discovery.

I hope this isn't a huge spoiler... I haven't seen all of it yet... but the guy for the FBI was looking at the Unabomber's manifesto and trying to figure out who he was.

He initially started with the direct data, trying to figure out the origins of unique words and phrases. This got him so far.

After that, he started thinking about topics that the Unabomber did not discuss in his manifesto. Things like... a family, relatives, neighbors. From this, I am assuming that he figure out that the Unabomber was a loner (like I said, I haven't gotten that far in the series).

This "look at what is missing" can often be helpful in interpreting data that you already have.

For example, I know that my wife invited AP to our house on June 30 at 9:04pm because she sent him a text (that I retrieved from her phone) that said "Come on over." I also know that she confessed to sleeping with him that night. I also know that he arrived in town a couple of days before that.

Now, logic suggests to me that they would have gotten together every night. I mean, they have been carrying on their affair via text for a year or so... wouldn't they get together as much as possible?

So, I checked the cell phone records.... there are no texts between them (or from her) between 9pm and midnight any of the days that he was in town. This morning, after a year of denying it, she admitted that he was at our house for three consecutive evenings and they had sex each of the three evenings.

Now, I have also noticed that they never texted between noon and 6pm on the days when he was in town. He had a hotel room. She has a job, but she has flexible work hours and an over-abundance of vacation time...and unlike the evenings, our son would have been in daycare. So, I am now convinced that they were together during the day too, although I can't get her to admit that (for now).

Anyway, here is my tip: think about what is MISSING in the evidence that you have. You might be able to catch your spouse and/or the Unabomber.

2 comments posted: Sunday, August 27th, 2017

Dr Fone question

A few days after D-day last year, I got a free trial version of Dr Fone and tried it on my wife's phone. It didn't turn up anything new.

I am wondering... would it likely/possible that re-using a paid version of Dr. Fone would generate different and more informative results?

2 comments posted: Thursday, August 24th, 2017

Dr. Fone questions...

My D-day was almost a year ago.

Sometime after D-day (a week or two?), I downloaded Dr. Fone and did a free trial version analysis of my wife's phone. It didn't show me anything new.

Question#1: I am wondering, though, if the free trial version is worthless?

Question#2: My wife got a new phone last week, giving me very good access to her old phone. If the free trial version of Dr. Fone is worthless... would it be worthwhile to apply it to her old phone? Mind you, all of the texts that I would want to see would be prior to D-day, almost a year ago.

1 comment posted: Thursday, July 6th, 2017

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