I see a lot of posts about being grateful. It’s a difficult thing to do when you’re going through a divorce. It’s a difficult thing to express when your world has been rocked by infidelity. Hooray- my spouse cheated on me! Thank you!
But seriously, there are a few things for which I’m grateful. For example, while I’m crushed for my kids that their father has chosen to walk off and abandon them I’m grateful that he never played a huge role in their lives prior to our divorce. I think about how much more difficult this could be for them if they had had a close bond or if he had been Daddy of the Year. Their dad not playing a major role in their lives is something they’ve grown up with so now that he’s no longer around it’s not a big change. While Rock Star will tell you she wanted a close relationship with her dad, she didn’t have one and she knows that. She mourns for a fantasy, a what-could-have-been that probably never would have been. Picasso is sad that his dad lied to him and that he spent so much time wishing his dad would get better, but again, he knows it wasn’t something he ever had. I don’t think any of that makes it easy on them, but I think it makes it easier than if they worshipped the ground their father walked upon. All their lives they’ve known me being there, taking care of everything, cooking for them, washing and folding their clothes, taking them places, creating memories for them. I was the parent that was there, present in every day life; he was the parent that shut himself off from them. That hasn’t changed.
Likewise, I’m selfishly grateful for the fact that I don’t have to share my kids with him. I don’t have to miss my kids on holidays. I don’t have to spend weekends without them (although to be fair, my kids are teenagers so I don’t spend *that* much time with them on the weekends). I don’t need to figure out what I’m going to do to fill in the time while my kids are away.
I’m grateful I don’t have to worry about them being around Harley and her kids. My kids want nothing to do with her or their father and thankfully, they are old enough that they have a say in that. I can’t imagine the hell that is sending your kids off to spend a weekend with a cheating ex, the affair partner and any additional kids to play happy family. I am grateful I don’t have to hear how wonderful Harley is or how nice she is or that she makes a great bowl of cereal or whatever else cheating whores do to win over kids. In my kids’ case it was nothing. She gets to block my daughter on FB and pretend they don’t exist while gushing about what a wonderful dad CF is to her own kids. Again, I can’t imagine the hell that it must be to have your kids gushing over the affair partner, or to have the affair partner trying to claim your children as their own.
I’m also grateful that thanks to their almost nonexistent relationship prior to the divorce he can’t poison my kids against me. I have read some heartbreaking stories where the cheater turns the kids against the cheated on spouse. Anytime CF tries to portray himself as a victim of my machinations or tries to play the victim card neither of my kids buy his bullshit. Picasso has gone so far as to say he can’t trust anything his dad says. Rock Star has said many times that he has brought all of this on himself. It is sad when the kids buy into the cheater’s narrative and my heart breaks for those who are losing their children right along with the cheating ex. No one should have to go through that.
In hindsight, I’m grateful that I did do so much on my own while married. I read posts from people who wonder how they’re going to manage taking care of kids without the help of their spouse. Taking the kids out to eat or on vacation or on a road trip are major achievements to some newly single people. I’ve been doing that the entire time I’ve had kids. Yes, my kids are older now so they don’t need the same day to day care, or constant supervision, but even when they were younger I did it by myself. I can’t even count the number of vacations and road trips I took my two on with my husband nowhere in sight. For every one trip down to see his parents with him I would make two or three by myself. At one point it was about a 7 1/2 hour trip. Later it was more like 25 or 26 hours. All.by.myself. I remember taking an infant and a toddler out to eat by myself as well. I remember preferring to do it in the winter because our coats would remain on the chairs so the server would know we hadn’t left if I had to take Rock Star to the bathroom; I couldn’t leave an infant behind while I tended to the toddler so all three of us went. In the summer I had to make sure to get the server’s attention and tell them where I was going. I remember corralling 2 young children into a single bathroom stall whenever I had to go to the bathroom on the road. One would be trying to get out while I’m trying to use the bathroom; if I was lucky the other one would be relatively stationary. Even as they got older I was the one who coordinated car pools and all the extracurriculars. I was the one who ran around and took care of all of that.
I’m grateful he was never my best friend. I read a lot of stories from people who are lost when their marriages end because everything revolved around the spouse. Now, whether that’s good or bad can be discussed in another post, but for me, the idea of losing my best friend when CF walked out the door was a joke. I’ve always maintained outside friendships. I’ve always socialized with people aside from him, mainly because I did most of that socializing with fellow SAHMs while he was at work. I remember years ago when I was in MOPS attending a Bible study and somehow I mentioned my best friend. One of the ladies thought it was very curious that I had a best friend still. I remember her telling me she didn’t have time for a best friend and she had told her husband that he had to be her best friend now. I’ve never understood getting rid of all your friendships for your spouse. I’ve never understood those people that could never do things with other people, things like going to lunch or going to a movie, because they were joined at the hip with their significant other. I think I would find that somewhat suffocating but what do I know? My husband cheated on me and I’m getting a divorce. Maybe if we had spent all of our time together I wouldn’t be in this situation, thinking about how grateful I am that he was never my best friend. 😉
Likewise, I’m grateful that because he was such a recluse and so rarely agreed to socialize with anyone, I haven’t really lost any friends (that I know of anyway). He didn’t have many and of those that he did have I generally didn’t know them because they were work friends. I can’t miss a friendship I never had. I don’t think Blockhead ever really liked me but that’s no big loss; I’m not crazy about him either. Plus I saw him a grand total of 6 times in the 21 years that we were together. Not exactly a close friend of mine. The only area where I might encounter people trying to be neutral would be at his place of employment in our former state. He did socialize a bit there until he decided he just couldn’t. They might be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but I’m friends with one of the wives and I know she gives me the benefit of the doubt. He does have a friend from high school who is trying to be supportive of both. I don’t let that ruffle my feathers because when you get down to it he was CF’s friend. I don’t expect him to banish him and I think this friend has been more than fair to me. Once again, I really feel for those people who are not only losing a spouse/partner but also a whole social circle because everyone believes the con that the cheater is selling.
I’m grateful that I have a supportive family who has been there for me this entire time and a mother who has offered up her home to me.
I don’t like to give him props but I am grateful that even if he wasn’t willing to go places with me, wasn’t willing to go on vacation with me and the kids, he was willing to let me go. Let me explain that because there really wasn’t any “letting me” do anything. I am aware that there are many people out there that don’t want to do much of anything and they want their partner right there beside them the entire time. There are people out there that “forbid” their spouse (usually a wife) from driving long distances by themselves. There are people who would pout and whine if their spouse was going to go off on vacation or out with friends and they weren’t coming along, even if they didn’t want to go. I remember once Tammy Faye saying something to me along those lines of how he “allowed” me to run around as much as I wanted. At the time I’m thinking, “Yeah, bitch, because he ‘let’s me’ run around without him you’ve seen your grandchildren much more than if I had to make every move with him.” Pastor Fake, on the other hand, hated it whenever she came out to visit us for anything more than a week. He acted like he couldn’t possibly make it without her. Jezebel and Husband #2 were like that as well. He was one of those that also wouldn’t let her drive far by herself. I’m getting into a minivan with a nursing infant and a 2-year old and driving 7 1/2 hours, but Jezebel can’t get in a car and drive her happy ass 6 hours without a chaperone. CF rarely wanted to go with me but at least he didn’t whine about being left behind. And all that running? It was typically me taking the kids to see family. He didn’t want to go! Him “letting” me run all over meant he could stay at home and do whatever he wanted in relative peace and quiet while I dealt with two small children.
I am still beyond pissed that he moved us across the country only to turn around and run away less than 2 years later but recently I’ve been grateful that my kids are having to move away from a place they’ve only known for 2 years, instead of uprooting them after 10 years. Having to quit gymnastics was brutal for my daughter. She still misses it. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for her to be pulled out this year, or possibly last year when I discovered him cheating and he decided he no longer owed it to his family to support us at the same level. For both kids I think it would be extremely hard to leave behind friends of ten years. My daughter started 1st grade with those kids. My son had been with the same people all his life. I think it would have been even more difficult to take them away from that, as opposed to shaking their world up yet again after only two years. At least they know now that they can start over and make new friends. Rock Star has even said she’s looking forward to reinventing herself. I’m not sure she would feel that way if she was leaving our previous state after ten years. Leaving his friends of eight years behind was excruciating for my sweet, kind-hearted Picasso. This will end up being a piece of cake compared to leaving two years ago. For both of them. I never thought I would say I was grateful he moved us across the country after what he has done, but in many ways, especially now that we have to pull up and move again, I am.
In another twist of irony I’m grateful we put a pool in while he was conducting his affair. Between our (meaning me and the kids) trip back to visit friends and family and all the money CF was funneling to Harley our savings was being rapidly depleted. With the completion of the pool we had to come up with a significant chunk of money to pay the remaining balance. He cashed in stock as agreed upon (another thing for which I’m grateful- he could have refused, I suppose, but that would have tipped his hand) which meant when I found out about him and Harley there was a lot of money sitting in our bank account. I’m so grateful that was there for us so I didn’t have to rush back to work, leaving my kids to fend for themselves while they dealt with their parents divorcing and potentially moving. When he decided he was no longer going to be depositing his paycheck into our joint account and dole the money out instead I had a backup plan. Without that money I would have been destitute. He would have been able to call all the shots.
I’m equally grateful that I caused a stink about having my name on the deed. I can only imagine what would have happened had I allowed him to leave me off the deed. The kids and I would probably have been out of there a long time ago if he was the only one on that deed.
There are other things I’m grateful for which have nothing to do with what a shitty person he has become. I’m grateful for the lifestyle we were able to have for all of those years. Granted, we were paying out major bucks for sports but my kids never went without. I could run down to the mall and buy $200 worth of shorts for my kid if she told me she had outgrown all of hers. I could go shopping and buy them the toys they wanted, the clothes they wanted, the food they wanted. I am grateful for that, although I know things are going to be infinitely more difficult now that we’ve experienced that.
I’m grateful for having a chance to see and live in many different areas of this great country of ours. So many people rarely venture beyond their own town or state and I’ve been blessed by living in multiple regions. I’ve loved the arid, stark beauty of the west, and the green rolling hills of the south. I’ve loved the mountains while living out west and would frequently marvel at having such a view, even 8 years later. I’ve experienced drive-thru liquor stores, no alcohol sales on Sundays, children allowed in liquor stores, wine, beer and liquor all sold in grocery stores and drug stores, wine and alcohol sold separately from liquor and having separate entrances for each store, only beer and alcohol being sold in grocery stores, and anything in between. I can tell you how long it takes to drive the length of Illinois and what the last exit is called, and I can tell you how many miles I-80 runs through Nebraska. I can give you a list of the most boring drives and a list of some of the most beautiful. FYI: That drive across Nebraska is a bitch!
I’m grateful that up until now I have been able to pay for my kids to partake in expensive sports, such as hockey and gymnastics.
I’m grateful that I was able to stay at home with my kids. I was able to be there to go on field trips, volunteer in classrooms, serve on PTA, go to awards assemblies and spend summers entertaining them. I know that working parents can do those things as well, but I never had to juggle work and kids. Summers were spent with season passes to water parks and amusement parks. I got to fly my niece out several summers and keep her occupied.
I’m grateful I have been able to attend various out of state gymnastics meets for my daughter. We’ve been to San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Nashville, and Las Vegas all thanks to her. And I’m very grateful I was able to go, to hang out with friends and to cheer her on.
I’m grateful for all the family vacations I have been able to take. I’ve been to a lot of fantastic places. They haven’t been exotic but they’ve been fun.
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to volunteer all these years. Again, I realize people can work and volunteer; I just happen to think it’s easier to do when you don’t have to juggle schedules or you’re not tired for working 10-12 hours a day. I loved attending MOPS meetings and joining their hospitality team. I am very fortunate that I was able to start a completely new chapter at my own church years ago. I liked volunteering in the nursery and then in Children’s Church, plus leading a small group and joining the Meal Team at my old church. I loved serving on PTA and volunteering in the kids’ classrooms. I did so much up at the school and through PTA and I’m very thankful for that. Before I got married I was a Girl Scout leader and also volunteered as a rape crisis advocate. I moved shortly after getting married so I didn’t continue on with either of those long after getting married.
I think I could go on and on for paragraphs about all the various things for which I’m grateful. I won’t, but I could. It still grates on my nerves that CF actually had the audacity to tell me that I had a great life thanks to him. No, what he actually said was, “You have a great life thanks to me!” Present tense. Said with all seriousness as he’s fucking a whore and abandoning his kids. Yes, asshole, I had a great life. Your money and my cheerful, sunny can-do attitude made it possible. The fact that I was willing to get up off my ass and throw myself into getting involved made it possible. The fact that I was willing to make terrific memories for my kids even without your help or participation made it possible. Right now, my life kinda sucks. I’m in transition; I have no money and my savings account is rapidly shrinking. I’m looking at working some low paying job that is going to pay my fucking bills and that’s about it! My kids are going to be living in poverty and all of those damn restaurants I listed as silver linings are going to be off limits to them because I won’t be able to fucking afford them, thanks to you and your antics, fucking asshole! But you know what? I will have a great life again. And the best part of it? I don’t have to spend a single second of it with you! For that I am infinitely grateful.